The Marcet Academy’s Indian trainees tell us why they have chosen Barcelona as a training ground.

Chait Advani is preparing to face one of the most important exams of his career. In a few weeks, he will be packing his bags to journey home. Back in India, U-18s National Team trails await, to which the midfielder was summoned for his brilliant performance this last season. “I’ll try to do the best I can, I don’t want to get too excited, but I think Marcet has really helped in getting me ready for this.”

Chait has been in Barcelona for two years. He made the decision to come to Spain because he believes that it’s the “best place” in terms of “opportunities” as far as the footballing world goes, as well as the sheer reach and scope the sport has in Spain as opposed to in India. “Everyone here is watching football, whatever their age. In India, we haven’t quite got such an enthusiastic and wide-spread following, there is still a lot of room for growth.”

“The training here is very serious and includes aspects that are not really worked on in India”

The midfielder from Pune, near Mumbai, is not the only Indian who has chosen to train in Barcelona. In this season alone more than 20 Indian students have passed through Marcet’s High-Performance Academy. Most of them, like Chait, stay all year round and follow a program that also includes academic education. Others, like Aryajai Singh, prefer to attend intensive courses spanning just a couple of weeks.

When I returned to India after my first experience at Marcet, I found I’d improved a lot. In fact, it was then when the technicians at my school decided to put me on the senior team,” recalls Aryajai during his second experience in the Checking Program. “At Marcet, I’ve improved a lot in terms of control and ball delivery. In India it’s very common to over-use long-range passing, whereas here the game develops in a more contained, close-range style of play, it feels richer and more complex, which in turn has made me a more skilful and faster player.”

Chait Advani, en un partido contra el Atlético de Madrid en la temporada 2016-17.
Chait Advani during a match against Atlético de Madrid (2016-17 season).

Chait agrees: “In my country, football is more direct, footballers usually play for themselves, they never give up the ball, they’re always looking to dribble the ball… In Spain, I’ve seen that passing is fundamental. The difference between the two countries is huge. The training here is very serious, very technical and includes aspects that are not really worked on in India, such as sports psychology and video analysis.”

“The difference is that here there are good players which makes everything more intense,” adds Muhammed Nemil Valiyattil, who has just arrived at the Marcet Academy. “My goal is to be a professional footballer, that’s why I’m here,” explains the midfielder. “I’ve only been in Barcelona for two weeks, but I can already say that I’m making progress, and every day that goes by I find myself facing new challenges. I’ve started living in football at Marcet and I’ve started to understand what real football is.”

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