Marcelinho: I feel happy in India
FC Pune City have strengthened their attacking line-up by signing in former Delhi Dynamos FC striker and Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2016 Golden Boot winner Marcelo Leite Pereira, better known as Marcelinho. The 30-year-old Brazilian settled into the Indian subcontinent from the word go and set the stage on fire last season by bagging 10 goals and five assists. This season, he has switched allegiance to the Stallions and his new team would be expecting much of the same form.
The player took time to catch up with indiansuperleague.com, and he talked about last year’s exploits, his reunion with certain players in his new team, and about India.
Looking back at the 2016 ISL season, the striker points out key factors that resulted in his success.
“We had a strong team in every line (defence, midfield and attack), a good coach and a positive mentality,” he said. “So, everything was perfect and I was confident of doing a good job. Then I was also lucky to play alongside Florent Malouda, who is very intelligent and gave me support to play well.”
While he praises Gianluca Zambrotta’s philosophy last season, he is confident that Habas too can build a strong unit.
“Zambrotta was very intelligent with our tactical movement and offensive philosophy. Habas surprised me when we played against him (last season) as our confrontation was not an easy one. For sure, he can be smart and strategic to make a strong team with new pieces,” he explained.
Marcelinho was also quick to point out that pressure was something that did not affect him.
“No, I don’t feel pressure. I feel the good energy and am more confident. I can change the pressure to happiness and euphoria on the field,” he revealed.
The Brazilian was also impressed by the way his new team, FC Pune City, approached and convinced him to sign for them.
“The most attractive for me was the professional and organised way they made contact and showed their focus for this season. They made me feel special with my move to Pune,” he said.
He also spoke in favour of the new format of the ISL this year, which is longer and involves a couple of new teams.
“I can only see positive points with two new clubs,” he inferred. “A longer league is more attractive to the fans and players. The ISL is competitive and the most important thing is the growth of the league. Today, the ISL is attractive and a reality for everybody.”
He was also impressed with some of the Indian players he played with last season.
“For me, the wall Anas (Edathodika) and Souvik (Chakrabarti) were amazing to see while playing,” he said before adding, “And amongst the foreign players, it has to be Malouda for his intelligence.”
According to Marcelinho, Indian football is catching up in his country as well.
“The people in Brazil know about Indian football after the move of Zico (as coach of FC Goa) and other players during ISL 2014; they have an impressive and positive point of view regarding the sport in India, which is getting famous in Brazil,” he said.
Marcelinho was also all praise for India and the people, saying that happiness and friendship were two things that he found aplenty here.
“With the world like this today, in India you can find a good energy to be happy. Indian people are different and special for me,” he concluded.