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ISL: Quaresma to Hyderabad FC? A wake up call for football fans in India

ISL: Quaresma to Hyderabad FC? A wake up call for football fans in India

The Bridge Desk

Published: 22 Aug 2020 11:50 AM GMT

“Portuguese winger Ricardo Quaresma is all set to complete his move to Hyderabad FC,” a popular social media page which covers Indian football at large, posted on Friday evening.

Indeed the page was referring to Cristiano Ronaldo’s teammate at the Portugal national team, a fellow 2016 Euro Cup winner, someone who has played for the biggest clubs in the biggest leagues of the world.

And quite evidently, football fans in the country went in a frenzy, the post went viral.

Links such as these come only once a year or so, but this one seemed good, this one seemed possible! After all, one of the country’s leading journalists had confirmed that the Portuguese had been offered to Indian Super League (ISL) clubs.

Fans, largely those who follow European football most of the time, went on a sprint of fancy — many of them recalling how vicious Quaresma’s right-footed outswingers were, and how electric his character was on the field. A product of Sporting CP's famed academy, the winger rose up the ranks in Portugal before making a high profile move to Barcelona. He would then go on to feature for Porto, Inter Milan and Chelsea.

quaresma1 Quaresma played at Chelsea, on loan from Inter Milan (Source: Getty Images)

In the past also big stars have been linked to moves to India. From Bastian Schweinsteiger to Ronaldinho, there had been legit claims of popular stars moving to ISL. Every time it turned out to be a fake rumour but this time it was different.

Most recently, the 36-year-old was playing at Turkish club Kasımpaşa. He had joined on a one-year deal, with an option to extend, but when the season got over, he decided to part ways. Thus, the possibility of him, as a free agent, switching over to ISL seemed quite real. Quaresma felt big but not that big to not grace Indian football. In short, that one post got everyone excited.

What is it about world famous stars being linked to Indian football that makes fans go overboard with anticipation? Is it because stars in this field are so rare? Is it because European football is more attractive for many and someone like Quaresma coming to India gives an excuse to follow the country’s football?

Let’s face it. In truth, ISL clubs would have to break the bank to afford someone like Quaresma. While it is true that the player’s representative had sent across his profile to a number of ISL clubs, Hyderabad FC included, it is highly unlikely that a deal would materialise.

As per reports, Quaresma’s last salary at Kasımpaşa was almost INR 20 crore per year. First of all, that is INR 4 crores more than the salary cap for ISL. Secondly, even if he was to be the marquee player whose salary isn’t counted within the salary cap, the fee is almost half the club’s budget for the entire season.

Under the current circumstances, where Covid-19 has wreaked havoc across the globe, there is a lot of doubt whether or not any club would splurge so much on a single player.

Hence, for Quaresma to strike a deal with any ISL club, he would have to take a massive pay cut.

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