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Saurav Gopalkrishnan is expected to be seen in action as the Indian football ecosystem opens up.
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Sergio Ramos inspired ball-playing defender Saurav Gopalkrishnan eager to make his mark

Saurav Gopalkrishnan is expected to be seen in action as the Indian football ecosystem opens up.
Saurav Gopalkrishnan is expected to be seen in action as the Indian football ecosystem opens up.

“Saurav is a mentality monster. His fierce determination and never-say-die attitude are inspirational. The 24-year-old was on the brink of a big-money move to one of the greatest teams in Indian football, not so long ago. We were supremely excited by the opportunity. Sadly, a regular operation conducted at this stage astonishingly backfired, ruling him out of action for a certain period of time. The club refused to go ahead with the deal, which was definitely a blow. While another surgery ironed out all the issues astutely, one would have well expected Saurav to be heartbroken as would have been the case with any other player. However, he was back smiling and cracking jokes soon after, which is an indication of the immense positivity he holds,” said footballer Saurav Gopalkrishnan’s agent Wilbur Lasrado of Inventive Sports.

The ball-playing central defender is expected to be seen in action as the Indian football ecosystem opens up, having been hit hard by COVID-19. Interesting offers have been received for the 24-year-old’s services, indicating the value he commands.

Holding his own against Valencia star Lee Kang-in

Saurav enjoys quality experience in English and Spanish football, with the player earning his stripes on the back of extreme hard work and dedication. The defender trained at the FC Malaga City Academy in Spain, before playing for CD Almunecar City, the Tercera Andaluza Granada division of Spanish football. He faced off against the likes of Valencia and Atletico Madrid in practice games, making his presence felt against Lee Kang-in, who is considered the next superstar in European football.

Saurav further obtained an opportunity to learn from legendary Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, during his stint in England.

“When I was at QPR, I saw Rio Ferdinand, who is one of my heroes. It was just a short three-to five second window and I couldn’t make it obvious that I was staring at him. I am still in awe of the man, because he is one of my heroes, and to look at that guy, being at the forefront and barking orders to his teammates, doing what he does best as a leader was just great,” he said in an interview with Times of Oman.

“I was fortunate to enjoy my family’s support from Day 1”

However, it wouldn’t have been possible if not for the support of his parents, who backed him through thick and thin.

“I was fortunate to enjoy my family’s support from Day 1. They never questioned my decisions. All they desired was clarity in thought and a strong will to give my cent percent towards achieving the goals. This definitely motivates me massively and urges me to proceed in the right direction, while maintaining a positive outlook through thick and thin. I have devoted my life to the game from the point when I finished my Class 10 board examinations, and it has been a joyride ever since.”

Saurav is confident about his future as an Indian footballer, having been empowered by the glorious experiences in different footballing leagues. The lanky and tenacious ball-playing defender idolises Sergio Ramos and wishes to emulate his heroics. Saurav believes that his ability to adapt to different tactical styles of play and solid mentality, make him different from the current defenders in the national football ecosystem.

Will choose a goal-line clearance over winner anyday

“I am comfortable operating in any position across the defensive line. Many prominent coaches and former players have further hailed my ability to read the game astutely and emerge as a commanding presence at the back, dominating aerial duels and tackles. I can adapt to any manager’s tactical viewpoint. My sole focus is on seamlessly transitioning across ideas and philosophies while adopting a supreme focus on learning as much as possible,” he said.

“The team’s success is the only thing that matters. If given a choice between scoring the winner or making a goalline clearance, the latter would be my preference every single time. Giving my 100 percent on a daily basis is a non-negotiable. You could well compare me to the actor Aamir Khan when it comes to emphasis on fitness and eating right. While others are comfortable eating junk food in a party, I am more than happy to stand out for carrying a Tupperware box comprising of the food recommended by the trainer. Come hail or storm, my resolve towards fitness will stand strong,” added Saurav.

The Australian connect

While Saurav’s rock-solid mentality and maturity beyond the ears is impressive, he has certainly derived inspiration from the best in the world of sports. The 24-year-old fell in love with the game having watched Cristiano Ronaldo, dazzle his way past the defenders. He is further a massive fan of Ricky Ponting’s Australia, having enjoyed them dominate world cricket.

“Ronaldo is a magician. It’s a joy to witness him play. Ponting’s Australia was exceedingly ruthless and determined to excel at any cost. It was lovely to enjoy the manner in which they took the attack to the opposition, rather than allowing them to settle at any stage. The fielding standards were superb, with the players capable of turning the game around at any stage. I personally prefer to field whole day rather than batting or bowling, which may have been directly influenced by their heroics,” he laughs on a concluding note.


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