'There is no doubt that India is going to be a football nation. The only question is if it is going to take 10 or five years.'
After acquiring a major stake in Indian Super League side Mumbai City FC, City Football Group Chief Executive Officer Ferran Soriano said there is no doubt that India will become a major football nation in the coming years.
CFG, the owners of the English Premier League champions Manchester City, on Thursday acquired 65 percent stake in the club to become the majority stakeholder alongside existing shareholders actor Ranbir Kapoor and Bimal Parekh, who will keep the remaining 35 per cent.
Mumbai City FC is the eighth club in the world and third in Asia to be acquired by the CFG.
"The first thing is the size of the country and 1.3 billion people. The second thing is that we have visited India in past. There is a passion, there is talent. The fans that watch the game understand the game. They behave like fans from Europe. There is no doubt that India is going to be a football nation. The only question is if it is going to take 10 or five years," Soriano said.
Other clubs in the CFG stable include New York City, Melbourne City, Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan, Girona FC in Spain and Sichuan Jiunia in China.
Soriano said that Mumbai feels like New York and he is sure that football will truly be successful in the Indian city.
"Mumbai is a fantastic city. It feels like New York. In New York, we have been very successful. We started six years ago from nothing and we did very well. I think Mumbai is a cosmopolitan city and I am hundred per cent sure football will be successful in Mumbai," he said.
Soriano said Manchester City's Spanish manager Guardiola will be in touch with their Mumbai City FC coach.
"Pep is part of our network of coaches. And they speak all the time. The example I gave you is our Chinese coach was in Manchester last week coaching with Manchester City team, trying to learn.
"The coach we have in Mumbai City will have a relationship with Pep Guardiola and with all our other coaches," Soriano said, adding grassroots will be their priority.
"As I said we are not here to import anything. We are here to help unleash the power of Indian football. Maybe you don't realise how much power is already there. There are good players and coaches and we will help them.
"Help means sharing experiences, sharing technology, inspiring them. That is what we aim to do. Maybe we will bring some people, for sure but ultimately we will unleash the power of Indian football," he added.