Kerala Blasters FC midfielder Ivan Kaluizhnyi opened up about his decision to play in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) and revealed the happenings that led to him joining the Kerala Blasters FC. 

The 24-year-old who is on loan from Ukrainian side Oleksandria opened up about how the war situation in his homeland led to him taking up the challenge in India. 

“After the war in Ukraine, I came to Europe with my family. I was close to joining a Polish club, but my club couldn't find an agreement with that club. Then I played in Iceland for two months when my agent said that there is one club from India. So, I decided to speak,” Kaliuzhnyi said during the pre-match press conference ahead of the Mumbai City FC match. 

“I didn't want to go to Ukraine because it was not safe and I wanted my family to stay in a safe place. My club wanted me to play in Ukraine but I wanted my family to be in a safe place, so eventually, I signed with Kerala Blasters FC,” he added. 

Kaliuzhnyi has been excellent for the Kerala Blasters FC and has added a new dimension to their midfield. He has scored four goals so far and the thrust that he offers from the middle of the park has caused teams big problems. 

Head coach Ivan Vukomanovic has stated last week how signing Kaliuzhnyi on a permanent basis would be a challenge financially for the club but would try their best to keep him in Kochi. 

The Ukrainian also provided an update on his future as he spoke to the media. 

“I have a contract and I will need to speak with my club in Ukraine. I would want to stay but my club would want a fee and a big fee. I am happy here and I want to continue playing at this club,” Kaliuzhnyi said. 

Talking about his time in India, the 24-year-old suggested that he has enjoyed his time in the Hero ISL. 

“I am happy here. I like this league, I like this team, the staff and everything is good. It's a new challenge. Usually, at this time I have a vacation in Ukraine but now I am playing and I am happy because it's better for me,” he said. 

“I think Indian players have quality but make a few easy mistakes. But I think the level of foreign players in the Hero ISL is now better than in Ukraine,” he added. 

Kaliuzhnyi missed Kerala Blasters FC’s win against Jamshedpur FC due to suspension but is back in the fold ahead of the crucial match against Mumbai City FC. 

Up against the likes of Ahmed Jahouh, Apuia and Greg Stewart in the middle of the park, Kerala Blasters FC would need Kaliuzhnyi to be at the peak of their powers.