Pune: At 36 years of age, many critics believe that former Chelsea forward Adrian Mutu is well past his prime, but the Romanian believes that the Indian Super League (ISL) will provide him the platform to make a comeback to his national side.
Mutu insists that he will give it his all for FC Pune City so that he can feature in Euro 2016.
“This is one of the biggest challenges of my career,” Mutu was quoted as saying by Sport360. “By no means will it be easy. I have been training hard, been communicating with the club constantly to understand their philosophy and requirements and I am committed to give everything I have.”
Romania are second in Group F of the Euro 2016 qualifiers and are on their way to making it through to the main tournament to be held in France. But Romania have had problems with their strike force and the veteran might just get a look in.
The former Inter Milan striker is also Romania’s highest ever goal-scorer. With 35 goals to his credit, he is level with the legendary Gheorghe Hagi.
“I recently had a talk with the national team coach and he has told me that if I continue playing football even after ISL, then he will consider me for the European Championship next year,” he said.
“It’s a huge motivation for me to keep going and I am taking it very seriously.”
Mutu was supposed to feature in the ISL last year, but he was denied a visa.
“I had a couple of offers from European clubs. But one of the reasons I chose to come to India is that the club has been very nice to me despite the fact that I couldn’t come last year because of a bureaucratic problem. They behaved well with me and I appreciate that,” he said.
Mutu says that the pre-season training with Pune City in Turkey has gone a long way in helping him to return to good shape. But his role at Pune will stretch far beyond mere goal scoring duties.
“I don’t know if I can call myself a mentor. But what I can assure you is that I would share with them my experience… whatever I can teach. They (Indian players) are very nice, open people and are hungry to learn,” the veteran striker said.
“They keep on asking me various things. They are all good athletes and footballers but what they don’t have is experience. I think it’s normal because here in India football wasn’t so popular till a few years ago.”
Speaking on Pune coach David Platt, he said,”David is a vastly experienced manager and the international players on my team are really good as well. We have a really strong team, good enough to win us the title if we remain consistent.”
“Another good thing about a tournament like ISL is I’ll get to meet my friends John-Arne Riise, Nicolas Anelka and hopefully even Roberto Carlos when our teams play each other.
“I think all these players will help the league in a big way, mainly because of their vast experience.”