ISL: Who is Sanjeev Stalin? 10 things to know about Kerala Blasters' new signing
Kerala Blasters' new signing Sanjeev Stalin is relatively unknown in Indian footballing discourse, but that is about to change.
Indian SuperLeague (ISL) bigwigs Kerala Blasters recently announced the signing of promising Indian defender Sanjeev Stalin on a three-year deal. The 20-year-old is being touted as India's next big defensive star but very few Indian fans know about the youngster. Here are 10 pieces of trivia to get you updated on the upcoming prospect.
When and where was he born?
Sanjeev Stalin was born in Bangalore, Karnataka, on the 17th of January 2001.
What is his family background?
His father Stalin and mother Parameshwari run a small garment shop in Bangalore. His mother is actually a Burmese Indian who emigrated back into India to help out her immediate kin settle down.
Where did he receive his footballing education?
The youngster started his youth career with the much acclaimed Chandigarh Football Academy where he quickly rose through the ranks. He was then picked up by the All India Football Federation's (AIFF) development team, Indian Arrows.
Who was the first to spot him as a promising talent?
When he was just 10, he was spotted by East Bengal legend, Jamshed Nassiri. The former Iranian player, who also played for and coached Mohammedan Sporting at one point in his career, advised his family to let him pursue football as his professional career after watching him play at an U13 tournament in Bangalore.
What is his favoured position?
He is best-suited to play as a left-back even though his preferred foot is right. He also has a penchant for set-pieces and has built a reputation as a brilliant free-kick taker.
Which was the first international tournament that he participated in?
In 2017, he was a vital cog of the Indian U17 squad that participated in the U17 World Cup and started all three group stage games. It was his corner that was headed in by Jeakson Singh which gave India its first FIFA World Cup goal ever, at any level. Coincidentally, Jeakson will now be his teammate at Kerala Blasters.
What are the different levels that he has represented India in?
Besides the U17 level, he has played for the Indian U20 side. Sanjeev also scored a stunner from a free-kick against UAE, while playing at the AFC U16 Championships hosted in the Konkan in 2016.
How long was his association with Indian Arrows?
He played three seasons for the Indian Arrows, going on to make 28 appearances for the developmental side in the I-League.
Where has he been for the past two years?
Now comes the interesting part, the young left-back spent the most part of the previous two seasons in Portugal. He initially joined second-tier club Deportivo Aves' U19 side in 2019 before graduating to their U23 team. He then moved on a short loan spell to another Portuguese club Sertanense FC, who play in the Portuguese third division.
What is his relationship with Benjamin Pavard?
Sanjeev shares his agent with Bayern Munich and France right-back Benjamin Pavard. As a result, the Frenchman took out time to congratulate him on his move to the Tuskers a few days back saying by sharing the clubs' Instagram post about the move.