When an Indian kid nearly bumped into Iker Casillas at World Cup

Surya Varikuti is delighted at representing India in the 6th Gazprom Football for Friendship International Championship.

Surya Varikuti was chosen by the All India Football Federation to represent the country at the event.   -  Special Arrangement

Surya Varikuti is delighted at representing India in the 6th Gazprom Football for Friendship International Championship and at the same time a bit disappointed at missing out on a chance to meet Spanish World Cup-winning goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

The event this year brought together about 1,500 children from 211 countries to share the pitch and promote a message of tolerance, friendship, equality and peace.

Surya was chosen by the All India Football Federation to represent the country at the event. Casillas graced the forum this year and had some encouraging words for the children.

“Iker Casillas had come, but I couldn’t get near him because there were a lot of kids and also bodyguards. If I could have met him, I would have asked him about his career, how he reached so far, the hard work required, etc. Also, maybe get his autograph,” Surya said on his return from Moscow.

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The trip to the World Cup host nation has been a learning experience for the 12-year-old Bengaluru boy. “It was really fun. A really good experience. I met many new people, made friends and understood about their cultures. I heard new languages and picked up a few words too. It was also about getting to know other countries’ football, how they play and about their national teams. I learnt a few tricks also.”

While Surya’s team ‘Orangutan’ did not progress, the defender impressed the gathered crowd at the Sapsan Arena. How different was playing there compared to India, he said, “Over there, its kind of the same level. Here too we are exposed to a professional level. Over there, it is a little more professional, but mostly the same.”

On his own performance, Surya said, “I feel I played really well. But, we could have done better and if that had happened, we could have gone further in the tournament.”

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