Defender Monotosh Chakladar has had a tough journey to reach the pinnacle of Indian football but the Bengal footballer who was signed by two-time Hero Indian Super League (ISL) champions Chennaiyin FC is set to live a dream by playing in the Hero ISL.

From living a hand-to-mouth existence in a 10x10 square-feet house in Hooghly’s Chinsurah town, Chakladar has slowly managed to climb the ladders of Indian football and earn a ticket to play the top-tier league.

The 24-year-old recently captained the Bengal side to the final of the Santosh trophy and his performances in the tournament caught the attention of several Hero ISL clubs.

Chennaiyin FC were quick to make a move for the defender and secure his services for the upcoming season.

“It was my dream to enter the ISL and I’m glad that I’m playing for a big club like Chennaiyin FC,” Chakladar told in an interview.

A youth product of the United Sports Club in Kolkata, Chakladar grew up in football-crazy Kolkata and honed his skills in the Calcutta Football League. He was also part of Peerless SC that surprisingly won the title in 2019.

After a solid showing in the Santosh trophy, Chakladar is now training with Chennaiyin FC, preparing for the new campaign and is already liking life at the top of Indian football.

“There’s a massive difference (at a Hero ISL club). The clubs I represented earlier had only one physio, but here we have three to four physios. We also have good masseurs, top foreign coaches, and an experienced Indian coach in Syed Sabir Pasha,” the 24-year-old said.

“Plus, our physical trainer is managing the dietary requirements of the team. I’ve now learned what to eat and what to avoid. As a professional player, you can’t ask for more when you get so many facilities from a club,” he added.

Chakladar is relishing the prospect of going up against some of the top strikers in the country and hopes to follow on the footsteps of several young defenders who have made a mark in the Hero ISL.

“I’m looking forward to my duels with Hugo Boumous, Bartholomew Ogbeche and Alvaro Vazquez,” he said.

Chennaiyin FC have strengthened their squad this summer and have made a host of Indian and foreign signings to give new head coach Thomas Brdaric all the necessary tools to make Chennaiyin FC competitive at the top again.