Former Marcet player Deependra Negi scores a goal in his first Indian Super League match.
Two years ago, he was training every day at Marcet. Today, he plays in India’s First Division and shares a locker room with stars like Dimitar Berbatov. At 19 years of age, Deependra Negi is searing through stages and his signing to Kerala Blasters FC has been the detonating factor in his dive into the international footballing elite.
“It’s fantastic being able to train and play with someone like Berbatov”, the Indian midfielder explains. “He’s a strong, positive figure and being by his side has helped me become a professional both on and off the pitch. I’ve still got a lot to learn from him”. As well as the Bulgarian ex-striker from Manchester United, Deependra wears the same colours with another ex-‘red devil’ Wes Brown, in a team managed by another renowned Englishman, the ex-goalkeeper David James.
What’s the secret to reaching professional football? “There isn’t one”, the Indian footballer assures. “It’s simply a matter of working hard and learning something new every day. The path I took during my time at Marcet has been very important to my process and has helped me a lot. For a footballer, Spain is the best place to be training and learning to be a professional player. At Marcet I could see my abilities grow day by day”.
Deependra first arrived to Barcelona half way through the 2015-16 season. Agent Ravi Daswani, from RD Global Sports immediately noticed him in an Under-17s friendly between India and Singapur: “At once, I saw his talent, elegance and polyvalence on the playing field. I got in touch with his family to bring him to Spain and knew that Marcet High Performance Academy was his best option to finish off his education, adapt to European football and try out different clubs”.
It didn’t take Deependra long to find a team that met his claim. He wore CF Reus Deportiu‘s kit for the 2016-17 season in Spain’s Second Division. He later decided that it was time he tried his luck in his home country. “I came back to India and got to try out for the Kerala Blasters who would then sign me on”, the midfielder remembers, in a video from 2016 where he talks about his time at Marcet:
“In Barcelona I was met with a type of football that was a lot more technical than I was used to. Having said that, my country is quickly picking up and that’s mainly down to the great deal of Spanish players and trainers that have been signed by Indian clubs in the last few years”, explains Deependra, who scored a goal against the Delhi Dynamos FC the day of his debut in the Indian Super League. “It’s fantastic, I can’t describe the feeling of scoring a goal in that stadium… It was a dream come true”, he comments after his first match with the Kerala Blasters.
Deependra’s adventure in the top asian subcontinent competition has only just begun, only the ex-Marcet trainee is already looking ahead. “My objective right now is doing the very best I can with my team and one day playing on the Indian national team”. As a midfielder in one of the county’s best teams, it’s not exactly looking difficult for him.