Rohit Sharma becomes La Liga's first Indian brand ambassador

Rohit Sharma, Team India vice-captain, became the first non-footballer in history to be named the brand ambassador of the La Liga on Thursday.

Antonio Cachaza, MD of La Liga India with Rohit Sharma.   -  Vivek Bendre

Rohit Sharma became the first non-footballer in history to be named the brand ambassador of the La Liga as he signed the dotted line with the Spanish top division football league on Thursday.

Talking about his association with football, the Team India vice-captain said: “I have been following football on television from the time I was growing up. The passion to win displayed by the players in La Liga attracted me,” he said, adding: “The sport has a link with cricket, in the sense, 11 players have a goal to chase, which is to win the game.”

Sharma, who captains Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, fancies himself as a midfielder in the Indian cricket team’s football warm-up sessions. The Mumbai cricketer, gaining a reputation as free-stroking batsman in first-class cricket, said he was a huge fan of France icon and current Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane.

Rohit Sharma is presented with the La Liga jersey by Jose Antonio Cachaza, MD of La Liga India.   -  Special Arrangement


“Zidane is the reason for me watching football on television. I was attracted to his skill and for the same reason, Real Madrid is my favourite club team and Spain my favourite national team,” he said.

He also said Indian football has taken a massive leap forward leap since an improvement in infrastructure came about with the introduction of the Indian Super League. “Indian cricket too needed time to develop, there is a vast difference in how cricket was in the 1930s. Indian footballers have the hunger to excel and like every sport, development will happen with time. We need to be patient.”

Jose Antonio Cachaza, MD, La Liga India, said: “Rohit Sharma is the first non-football ambassador across the world. He is active on Facebook and other social media and we want him to post his views on La Liga, so that fans who follow him can follow the league through him.”

Incidentally, the Spanish league has a broadcast partnership with Facebook, which provides free viewership of 300-plus La Liga games via the social media network.

The Premier League is the most followed competition in India, while Bundesliga and Serie A are also making efforts to capture the attention of Indian audiences. However, Cachaza is sure of La Liga establishing a stronghold.

“The La Liga is known as the world’s most famous league. In Asia, we are behind another league. I don’t want to take names (EPL) and we want to catch up. This (popular Indian cricketer brand ambassador) is a way to get there,” he said.

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