Florent Malouda may not be a marquee player for the Delhi Dynamos but he is a key component of the side. As an untiring midfielder, the French international, discovering India and its culture, is also enjoying the brand of the football that the Indian Super League (ISL) offers.
Training with the squad in humid conditions this morning at the Delhi University Sports Complex, he praised the ISL for many things.
“It is physically very demanding because there is a game every three days. But don’t underestimate the physical intensity of this league. It can’t be high tempo all the time because there is a physical limit to performing. You are human after all.”
Malouda continued, “I like the structure of the ISL, the logistics of it, the venues, the diversity of the spectators, the atmosphere overall. It helps you to perform. The quality of play is good. Something is happening all the time. It’s great. The heat and humidity is new factor but we can get used to it.”
How would he compare the ISL with some of the other leagues in the world?
“We should not compare the speed and tempo. It is light when compared to other leagues. You must keep the weather in mind. In this heat, this is the pace you will get.”
Was it not tough to be able to play at 35?
“Not difficult. I play more than I train. I’ve been playing from the age of five, a game every day almost. I enjoy the fun of performing on the field; even sitting on the bench is an experience. As long as my health permits I want to keep playing. It makes me feel young and refreshing.”
On Delhi Dynamos’ progress thus far, placed second behind Pune.
“We are not conceding many goals. Our ambition is to win the league and we are trying to win it with our style, with tactical discipline. We need to defend well and look for scoring opportunities. Have to create opportunities.”
Malouda confirmed he was comfortable in the role of midfielder.
“I am used to playing in different positions, as a left back and as a striker too. That is part of my potential, to move around. I believe in what I do. Me playing in midfield gives him (manager Roberto Carlos) various options. It helps the team.”
He had kind words for the local talent.
“Players may lack basics and academies at grass roots as compared to Europe but they learn very quickly. They are improving quickly. You need to attract players, create an interest in the game, lot of work to be done in terms of structure. India is not ready yet to have a longer and bigger league but the ISL is relevant to developing football in India. Please don’t compare it with EPL. The Indian players have the potential. It’s been a pleasure working with them. I like their human qualities. They are so willing to work and learn, expect advice and work on it straightaway.”
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