Going back to June 2019 when two-time Indian Super League (ISL) champion ATK FC made waves by roping in Fiji national team captain and A-League 2018-19 Golden Boot winner, Roy Krishna.

Exactly a month ago, Krishna was awarded the Johnny Warren Medal, which is given to the best player in the A-League, showcasing the magnitude of the signing.

From the moment he stepped onto the field in India, Krishna made an immediate impact, contributing 15 goals and six assists as the team clinched their record-breaking third ISL Cup. His debut season in India solidified his status as one of the league's premier players, and his stature has only grown since then.

Now in his fifth season in the ISL, Krishna has amassed an impressive record of 102 appearances, 54 goals, and 24 assists. Representing his fourth ISL team, Odisha FC, Krishna remains a standout performer, leading the team in goals with 12 to his name. Despite being 36, Krishna continues to demonstrate his value as a forward in the league.

Notably, Krishna also had a brief stint with Bengaluru FC, during which he helped the team secure the prestigious Durand Cup and played a pivotal role in their journey to the ISL final, where they ultimately fell to his former team, Mohun Bagan Super Giant.

During the latest episode of “In the Stands” hosted by Suyash Upadhyaya, Krishna recalls the memory of signing for ATK and the surprise welcome at midnight, which made him curious to know if the league and the country had "something special" in store for him.

“First of all there were so many options (during that time) and I didn't think I would come to this side of the world,” Krishna recalled during the interaction.

Watch the full episode here 

There was that heartwarming moment of the warm reception he received at the Kolkata airport - a hospitality that the Kolkata clubs have always been renowned for.

“People were waiting for me (at the airport) at 2 AM, or 3 AM in the morning! And for me, that was something special and new,” the Fijian said with a smile on his face.

And perhaps destiny had the idea of bringing him to the birthplace of his great-grandparents, which was in Kolkata. The connection and culture that he had carried with him all through his life, and the dream of returning to India, were fulfilled by the sport he had loved all his life.

Krishna shared the century-old connection of his ancestors with India, finally following those roots.

“My ancestors came to India 140 years ago. They left from India to Fiji during the time of British rule,” Krishna shared.

“It was at the back of my mind that one day I would come to India for a holiday. You know, because we were watching Bollywood movies back home (in Fiji) so I wanted to see and experience the people and the culture here,” he said.

“I was very lucky that I came here and played football, which I love. And even I wasn't particular about the idea of how big football was in India, especially in Kolkata. But yes from day one, I've learned a lot, I've made a lot of friends and the experience so far has been good!” the forward further added.

Krishna expanded on the incredible warmth he experienced from the fans, who passionately chanted his name, instilling in him a sense of belonging right from the outset.

“I think I said this to my wife when I landed. I felt like I've been here before,” he said.

“And when I arrived in India, in Kolkata airport. The way they were chanting my name, "Krishna... Krishna" I felt like I was home!” Krishna added.

Over the past five years, Krishna has fully immersed himself in various Indian cultures. He's been spotted chatting fluently in Hindi with his teammates, effortlessly blending in. Not only that, but witnesses have also seen him passionately singing the Indian national anthem, pouring his heart into every word.

“Of course, it's a familiar language. And in school, we learned pure Hindi. So when you know something. I felt as if I knew it. I should just sing it. Of course, having a child that is born in India I'm more connected (with the country) now,” he said.

“And by singing the national anthem – it’s not a big deal for me. It comes from my heart, and I just wanted to sing,” the Fijian opined.

Krishna is currently under a one-year contract with Odisha FC, which will end after the season. He feels he still has a lot to offer on the field and would love to continue playing in the ISL.

Additionally, he revealed receiving offers from outside India during his journey in the country.

“Yes, there have been (offers). But look, I would still love to continue in India,” he revealed.

“You know, so, now there are rumours that I'm going back to Australia. But I would love to still be playing here because I still feel I have the quality, and the speed (in me),” Krishna commented.