Chanpreet: I was nervous to play alongside Giggs

Michael Silva: I couldn’t interact with Ronaldinho much. The first obstacle was that he does not know English. Secondly, they did not let us interact with him, as he was not comfortable with it. A lot of people were taking pictures with him, so he was not comfortable with the idea.

Mumbai 5s marquee player and Manchester United icon Ryan Giggs seemed to have made an extra effort to create a friendly atmosphere in the dressing room.   -  R. Ragu

That most Indian footballers got the chance to interact with international stars, was one of the key positives that emerged from Premier Futsal. In this regard, Mumbai 5s marquee player and Manchester United icon Ryan Giggs seemed to have made an extra effort to create a friendly atmosphere in the dressing room. Chanpreet, one of the best Indian players on view in this tournament, said, “When I played for the first time alongside Giggs, I was terribly nervous. But he came and spoke to me like I was his old school friend. All my nervousness vanished after that.”

Chanpreet, centre-back for GM Sports in the Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA) Elite Division, stated that his social media accounts have seen hectic activity since the tournament began. “After every match, I got around 30 friend requests on Facebook. My Instagram and Snapchat too are full of messages. Even after replying to everyone for four hours, more messages remained unread,” he said. His teammate Shubham Mane added, “Despite having played on a much, much higher level, Giggs sir interacted with all of us in a very friendly manner. Sharing a dressing room with such a legend was just an insane feeling.”

One Goa 5s player, however, was disappointed that he could not spend much time with former Barcelona playmaker, Ronaldinho. Local lad Michael Silva, who plays for Santa Cruz Club in the Goa Professional League, stated, “I couldn’t interact with Ronaldinho much. The first obstacle was that he does not know English. Secondly, they did not let us interact with him, as he was not comfortable with it. A lot of people were taking pictures with him, so he was not comfortable with the idea.”

The defender explained that Ronaldinho featured in Goa’s first two matches before returning to Brazil, skipped the practice sessions as well. The 23-year-old, however, manged to take a selfie with his celebrated teammate.

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