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By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
John Abraham is known for his love for sports, especially football. Currently, he is very excited about a tie-up with ESPN Star Sports where he will become the face of football in India till Euro Cup 2008. His next release, Goal, based on football, comes out on November 23.
Says a source close to John, “The channel has seen some parts of Vivek Agnihotri"s Goal and loved it.
They want John to be their brand ambassador for football as they feel he"s a keen football enthusiast. Who better than him with his knowledge, understanding and experience of the game? John has played football in school, college and during his management days. Currently, John is in talks with the channel. The ESPN tie-up will mean that John becomes the face of football in India who will promote the game as a brand ambassador."
Says an excited John, “I will be thrilled if the tie-up happens. Kids love sports and it will be a healthy thing I will be associated with. There are lots of kids out there who want to see football on screen. Most children dream of doing the bicycle-kick in football, I got to do it in Goal."
The actor"s love for football is well known. He says, “I love the game. I have always said that I love two things in life — riding a bike and playing football. I got to ride a bike in Dhoom and today I am playing football in Goal. I have captained my school, junior college, management team and Bombay district in football. Then I had to decide between education and sports, as there"s no money in the game That"s when I gave up football and pursued my MBA degree."
He continues, “I wish there was money in football. It"s a sad state of affairs. We missed out trying to qualify for the Asian qualifying round. I keep track of all the big league games —Indian, English premier league, the Spanish premier league, Celta Viga and the Italian premier league, the Serie A."
When John was playing football in Goal, the players of Manchester United (the team they played against) would often compare him to Wayne Rooney.
John grins, “Yes, but that was because of his game. A lot of my character has been modelled on Wayne Rooney"s style and the way he struck the ball. Rooney is revered in England and the guys in Manchester felt that the way I kicked the ball hard and slammed the ball into the nets during the workouts was a lot like Rooney."
Names that figure in John"s list of favourite football players include Argentine Lionel Messi and Brazilians Ronaldinho and Robinho.
Says John, “Maradona says Messi will succeed him and recreate his playing style. I like Cristiano Ronaldo"s game too. He is one of the best players today and his game is simply outstanding." Ronaldo was the same guy with whom Bipasha had an outing with in Lisbon.
“Football," John adds, “is a high maintenance sport where one has to be extremely fit. He says, “It"s not about having a great body but the core being fit. A game of football is running for 12 miles but fortunately, I had Andy Ansa and my trainer Mike Ryan from LA who were instrumental in helping me keep fit."