So, what happens when a young footballer meets an acknowledged FIFA World Cup player? First, you can’t get enough of staring them from afar. And then, your ask as many questions as you can, for opportunities like this come once in a lifetime, don’t they? This is exactly what happened when eminent Dutch footballer Ron Vlaar paid a visit to Bharat FC’s U17 footballers yesterday afternoon at Police Ground, FC Road. The excitement of one and all was obvious from the bazillion questions thrown at Vlaar, many of which included, “are you friends with Messi?”, “which is the best player you’ve played against?” and, our favourite, “what’s your juggle score?”
Ron Vlaar is a regular English Premier League player from Netherlands, and the best defender of Aston Villa Football Club. What’s striking about this player, however, is the fact that he has been providing financial aid and support to various rural districts in Maharashtra. Vlaar has been donating part of his earnings to various NGOs right from the age of 20. He’s also the goodwill ambassador of Yojana, a project tat aids Indian rural youth to build a future from themselves in the country. We’re super-pumped to have chatted with him, if only for a few minutes, about the city, his favourite football tricks, and much more. Read up on excerpts from the conversation:
Q1. Is this your first visit to India? How is it going so far?
RV: Oh, it’s been great so far! We’ve had a really good travel experience. We landed in Bangalore and then came to Pune, and we’ll be travelling to Mumbai before we fly out to Holland. I’ve always heard strange and beautiful stories about the country but now, I have experienced them with my own eyes and it feels great. This country has a lot of potential for development.
Q2. What are your thoughts on Indian football?
RV: I can’t really say much on the topic. If they want to improve, they must concentrate on training and playing the sport for the sake of the sport. Focus must also be shifted to training children to love the sport and encouraging them to do so, as it has many advantages.
Q3. What do you think of Pune city?
RV: It looks really good. It seems to be a busy city and it looks beautiful. 🙂
Q4. Finally, a message to all your fans here.
RV: Well, my message would be that I hope they can help develop this beautiful country by encouraging curiosity and education, especially in children. They must be encouraged to go out, see and experience things for themselves and hopefully, help change this country.