Marcelo Pereira: Indian players are improving every year thanks to Hero ISL

Brazilian forward Marcelo Pereira, who recently joined Odisha FC ahead of the upcoming Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) season, hailed the influence that the league has had on the development of Indian players. Speaking to goal.com, the Golden Boot winner in Hero ISL 2016 lauded the organization of the league and hopes to see Indian players move abroad for fresh challenges in the future.

“Each season has been crucial for them (Indian players). We always see new faces and new talents. I am sure we will get to see more young stars this year. The Indian players are improving every year thanks to the way the ISL is organized and with experience from foreign players and coaches. For the future, we will see Indian players moving and going to other countries,” said the 33-year-old forward.

Marcelo spent the 2019-20 season with Hyderabad FC, scoring seven goals and bagging two assists during his time with the club. When asked about his move to the Bhubaneswar-based outfit, the Brazilian cited the interest shown in him by the Odisha officials as one of the reasons that attracted him to the club.

READ: Marcelo Pereira: Really fantastic to see the evolution of Hero ISL

“After a hard season with Hyderabad FC, the new team (Odisha FC) made me feel motivated. The club management and the coach (Stuart Baxter) showed a lot of interest in me and that is what prompted me to join the club,” he said.

Speaking about his expectations with the Bhubaneswar-based club, Marcelo said, “I have a lot of expectations. I want to see how he (Baxter) will manage the Indian youngsters and foreign players, that's the balance that makes a team good. But I also know that he has experience in Asia as well as worldwide and he will successfully manage the team.”

The upcoming Hero ISL season will be hosted in Goa behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Marcelo shared how he feels about playing without fans in the stands. “It will be something strange for me to play without the fans. I hope for a better world after this season and a normal life. There will be an advantage of playing without any travelling, but the disadvantage is that I will miss the fans screaming,” he said.

“The love and affection from fans, respect developed from all the parties involved, staff, media and players make me feel beloved and continues my life in India. The organization and lifestyle are different from my country but it is a nice experience for me, I love it all,” Marcelo added.

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