Indian Super League: Michael Chopra to play for Sachin Tendulkar's Kerala Blasters
By Dev Trehan
Last Updated: 21/08/14 11:27am
Former Newcastle and Sunderland striker Michael Chopra has been signed up to play for Sachin Tendulkar’s Kerala Blasters in the inaugural Indian Super League.
The 30-year-old’s participation in the eight-team league was confirmed last Saturday, with Chopra telling Sky Sports he is ‘very excited and privileged to be part of a fantastic opportunity to develop football in India’.
Kerala, who are co-owned by legendary Indian batsman Tendulkar, will be managed by former Liverpool and England goalkeeper David James who has also been selected as the franchise’s marquee player.
Chopra, who scored 114 goals during his time in English football - including spells with Watford, Ipswich, Cardiff and Blackpool - was Kerala’s first pick in Thursday’s International Players Draft in Mumbai.
"I am very excited to have been picked by Kerala Blasters,” he told Sky Sports.
“I just can't wait to get the boots back on and get on the pitch. To play for a team that is owned by Sachin Tendulkar is an honour."
Inventive Sports agent and Asian Football Awards founder Baljit Rihal, who was instrumental in the deal taking Chopra to India, said: “As expected, Michael was picked at the beginning of the draft. We are pleased that he will be part of a team that has a great sporting icon behind it in Sachin Tendulkar.
“The team set up looks great with two Englishman at the helm, David James and Trevor Morgan. It's a fantastic opportunity with a great team and I'm sure Michael will fit in well and contribute a great deal."
James said on Twitter: "We're glad to have a player with his experience in English football.”
Other notable moves saw Team Chennai, who have entered into a teachnical partnership with Serie A giants Inter Milan, select former Manchester United midfielder Bojan Djordic and ex-Paris Saint Germain and Hull City defender Bernard Mendy.
Champions League winner Josemi has been reunited with former Liverpool team-mate Luis Garcia after being selected for Atletico Kolkata, the franchise which counts Atletico Madrid and Sourav Ganguly among its co-owners.
The ISL, which will feature players including David Trezeguet, Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg, kicks off on October 12.