Bollywood star and owner of ISL franchise Chennaitin FC, Abhishek Bachchan, vowed to prove FIFA president Sepp Blatter wrong when it comes to the talent of Indian football.
“My interest in Indian football became stronger after I met FIFA president Sepp Blatter this year at the World Cup final. He told me how come we cannot produce 11 players on the field when we have 1.2 billion people in our country. Now we will prove him wrong,” said Bachchan.
Bachchan, who is admittedly a staunch Chelsea FC fan invested a lot of time and money into his ISL franchise. In fact, the jersey of the team and the abbreviation (CFC) too are designed to match his favourite EPL club.
“I did not want to compromise on quality. I don’t want anybody to come and tell me Chennayin gave the match up. We want to fight till the last minute. That’s the drive I want in all my teams, including the kabaddi team,” he said at the jersey launch of the franchise here on Monday.
“Chelsea always wants to win. They are competitive unlike many other teams in the English Premier League. I don’t want to sound controversial but I think a manager like Arsene Wenger would not have passed a single season in Chelsea,” he added.
Despite his sharp statements on Blatter, the actor believes it is going to take at least 10 years to bring out a competitive national football team.
“We need to identify the players and a strong grassroot level programme is needed for that. We have a mandate to take almost 100 schools under our wing to train youngsters soon. I want to make football a viable career option in India.
"About the infrastructure, you won’t believe that the home ground of Jaipur Pink Panthers was no less than a stable when we first went there. It develops when in use. Even if the venue is throw open to a marriage ceremony, it is not bad for the money earned from there can be used for its renovation,” he added.
Liverpool forward Fabio Borini believes he could forge a good partnership with fellow Italian Mario Balotelli but admits the variety of strikers at Anfield offers manager Brendan Rodgers plenty of permutations.
Balotelli has yet to find his form with just one goal, against Bulgarian minnows Ludogorets, in eight matches and was dropped for last weekend's win over West Brom.
Borini, who rejected summer offers to move to Sunderland and QPR, has had even less pitch time with just three appearances, with only one start.
The 23-year-old has shared the field with Balotelli for just 98 minutes but is confident they could bring out the best in each other.
"I have played with him before and found it really well on the pitch," he said.
"Not just because of the language but we were born with the same idea of football, as Italians, so it's really easy to understand each other even without talking.
"He's a player that can change the game whenever he wants. It's a tough league, probably the toughest in Europe – and I think he understands that.
"In the games, he runs a lot and is really giving himself to the team, being very unselfish."
With Daniel Sturridge set to return from a six-week absence with a thigh strain when the Premier League campaign resumes next weekend, Borini and Balotelli's replacement against West Brom Rickie Lambert, will find opportunities harder to come by.
However, that does not faze the Italian who thinks Liverpool's quartet of strikers provides essential variety.
"We have four completely different players so there is a good choice of players in the squad, because we can all do different things," he told liverpoolfc.com.
"We can all play together and we can all play on our own up front when it is a 4-3-3.
"It is a good selection of strikers and we can all learn from each other.
"I know there are some things that Rickie might do better than me, so I can learn from him. It's the same with Daniel and Mario.
"We all learn from each other if we have the right attitude. We can all play together.
"I've played in lots of teams but that's something I've never seen before – such a different selection of strikers."
Roy Keane has warned Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho he would be "knocked out" if he tried to shake hands before the final whistle in Sunday league football.
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert refused to take Portuguese's hand as he prepared to head down the tunnel before the end of his side's 3-0 defeat by the Blues at Stamford Bridge on September 27, and his assistant Keane's reaction was even more withering.
Asked about the incident as he launched his new autobiography, The Second Half, in Dublin on Thursday afternoon, Keane said: "It's disgraceful.
"I've seen him doing it to other managers, it is a disgrace. The game is still going on. You wouldn't do that on a Sunday morning, you would get knocked out."
But while Mourinho found himself in the firing line, it was Keane's former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson upon whom the spotlight fell as Keane discussed the falling-out between the pair as his time at Old Trafford drew to a close in 2005.
The relationship between the two men deteriorated beyond the point of no return with the then United captain's infamous MUTV interview and his reference to Ferguson's involvement with the syndicate which owned racehorse Rock of Gibraltar helping to bring matters to a head.
Keane, who insisted he only ever had " five, six" one-to-one talks with the Scot during his 12 and a half years at United, was nevertheless not afraid to have his say, but admitted other managers were intimidated by Ferguson.
He said: "I think a lot of managers would probably be intimidated by him, probably bow to him. I think a lot of managers are heavily influenced by him, of course.
"I think (Everton boss Roberto) Martinez reckons he was misquoted a few years ago (saying) that Ferguson had his disciples. He obviously does.
"When a manager takes players away from being on loan – I think it was Preston when Ferguson was manager – when his son (Darren) got the sack, and, all of a sudden, the players are coming away on loan."
Ferguson used his own autobiography, published last year, to settle his own scores with Keane and Beckham among those to come in for criticism, a move described as "ridiculous" by the Irishman.
The Scot suggested at one point that the hardest part of the midfield enforcer was his tongue, a barb which produced a cutting response.
A smiling Keane said: "Well, what do you think? I kick pretty hard.
"I think it was a cheap dig. He was never critical when we were winning trophies and he was getting his new contracts, getting this after him, Sir this.
"He was not pulling me or other players, saying, 'Listen, you need to relax a bit'. That was the game and I appreciate the game. The game finished, but it was all the carry on afterwards."