Two schools from Srinagar making it to the national finals of the Adidas FC Bayern Youth Cup 2018-19 and watched by 1998 World Cup winner and FC Bayern Hall of Famer, Bixente Lizarazu, must inspire many more from across the country to play this beautiful game.

“This tournament,” said Lizarazu, “is like a World Cup for the young. It gives a chance to young players in India to play a world tournament which is unique. They play against other countries like USA, Thailand, Singapore, and get a chance to train and play in Allianz Arena and talk with professionals of FC Bayern Munich. I have been a player in Bayern for nine years and I know they will have a fantastic experience. They will have to tell the story to their friends in India, to see what is the level in Europe and how they can improve here.”

According to Lizarazu, sustaining the success of the 2018 FIFA World Cup win will be important for France. “In France we have very good schools. That is why we are bringing a lot of talented and young players. We are very strong in this aspect. But then you need to train in the good way to improve and to be good during 10 years. To be good when you are 20 years is one thing and then to make a fantastic career during 10-20 years like Messi and Ronaldo is another. The most difficult work now for France will be to beat other teams who can be very good in the next competitions like EURO (2020) and World Cup (2022).”

The Indians have a lot to learn from France and a few other teams. “India is learning from the structure and organisation of Bayern which is a very good organisation. Germany did not have success in this WC but they have a very fantastic school of football. At the moment we are taking about France because they are the world champions. In Europe, (nations like) Germany, Spain and France have the best schools and the best way of learning football. India can learn from these countries and take the best things. You need a trainer to come to India to help the players train in the correct way.”

Can the world see another Messi or Roanaldo from the current lot? “To be Messi or Ronaldo is not something so easy. It is easy to be good for one year and these guys have been good for 15 years. They are making 60-70 goals in a year. At the moment the best young player is (Kylian) Mbappe. Neymar is also very good. Let's see if they are able to do same thing like Messi and Ronaldo. A lot of very good players are good only for three to five years and then they fall because they are not professional. Messi and Ronaldo are amazing.”