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Nestor Gordillo: I think India is a sleeping giant in football

Published at :January 5, 2020 at 6:01 PM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : ISL Media)

The Spaniard opened up on his time with Chennai City, objectives at Hyderabad, suspension in ISL and more.

The story of Nestor Gordillo in Indian football is that of a journey, that began on a strongly positive note, however, ended up riling in a controversy. Arriving at Chennai City FC in 2018, he was one of their key signings and was part of the jubilant Spanish triplet with Pedro Manzi and Sandro Rodriguez. For the player, who previously plied his trade in the Spanish leagues as his professional career stretches, a move to India came with a set of new dreams. Making his mark for Chennai City in his very first season, Gordillo played a major role in their run to the I-League title. [KH_ADWORDS type="3" align="center"][/KH_ADWORDS]

Time in India and Suspension

"I am very happy here in India and I think that this is an amazing place, where I would love to stay for a long time," said the Spaniard in an exclusive chat with Khel Now. However, what followed in the summer of 2019 was just an unforeseen circumstance, as Nestor Gordillo made a controversial move to Indian Super League (ISL) side Hyderabad FC (then FC Pune City). After a series of allegations against him by his former club, the authorities enforced a four-month suspension on him and thus he couldn't appear for his new side until late December. Despite all the controversy, the player is looking forward to making a fresh start to his ISL career. "Last year, I won the I-League and now I only think about giving my best in the ISL," he said. "It is a great challenge for me to become an important player in the ISL." "It is very difficult to watch the matches from outside. I wanted to help the team in their difficult moments and it has been a very hard time for me. But, my family and my wife have always been next to me to help me in every moment," he added. When asked how he motivated himself to persevere while serving the long suspension, Nestor Gordillo revealed, "I didn't need a special motivation as such. I knew that the suspension would soon finish and I'll be back." [KH_ADWORDS type="4" align="center"][/KH_ADWORDS]

Hyderabad FC and a disappointing season so far

Meanwhile, Hyderabad have experienced a forgettable season, as they languish at the bottom of the table. With just a single win so far, head coach Phil Brown is currently feeling the heat, as he vows to get the team to break their shackles. However, despite his side's rather sorry disposition in the league, Gordillo oozes optimism of turning their season around from here on. "Everyone knows, we would like to be in a better position. But, a new franchise needs time. We have had some important injuries and we deserved more in some matches." "But, this is football and we are going to fight until the end," states Nestor Gordillo. He went on to express his opinion on whether the change of base has affected the team this season. "I don't think so. We feel very comfortable and also have the love from the supporters. I can't say about Pune because I was not there but I am fine in Hyderabad." In all fairness, with the 30-year-old's presence in the two games he started, Hyderabad's attack has looked more lively. There's no doubt on the impact his presence has made on the team, as he has notched up an assist already; perhaps the first of many. [KH_ADWORDS type="2" align="center"][/KH_ADWORDS] Further, Nestor Gordillo also opened up on his relationship with Phil Brown, pointing out that the Englishman has played a major role in the Hyderabad players' development. "Phil Brown is a very good coach, as he is always close to the players. He tries to teach new things to all the players and we learn something new in every practice session." "Back at Chennai City, I had an important role under Akbar Nawas and I want to replicate that under Phil Brown," added Nestor Gordillo.

Chennai City & 'The Spanish Influence'

Remembering his days at Chennai, Gordillo recalls how the team was in a great shape and how they achieved the unbelievable. "When I arrived in India, never had I thought that I would win the I-League title. But, I think we deserved to win it. After all, we were producing the best football as compared to the other teams." [KH_ADWORDS type="1" align="center"][/KH_ADWORDS] He further went on to talk about his phenomenal partnership with Sandro Rodriguez and Pedro Manzi. The trio along with Spanish defender Roberto Eslava combined to score 40 out of 48 goals for Chennai City last season. "We had developed a great understanding of each others' game last season and enjoyed a lot playing together. We still have a good relationship outside the field as well." Emphasizing further on the growing Spanish influence in India, Nestor Gordillo said, "India is growing in terms of football and it is natural that players from Spain are attracted to play here." "I think India is a sleeping giant and they will need some time to get what they want. As compared to Spain, people here start a little late to play football. But, I think there are lot of Indian players of good quality at the moment," he reiterated. [KH_RELATED_NEWS title="Related News | Article Continues Below"][/KH_RELATED_NEWS]

ISL or I-League and the Hyderabad mentality

As the discussion came to its final stage, Nestor Gordillo revealed his thoughts on whether the I-League or the ISL possesses better quality. "ISL is the best league in India. It is more competitive than the I-League and the stadiums are better too." Coming back to speak on Hyderabad's objectives for the rest of the season, he said the team will take it a game at a time. "At the moment, we will only think about the next game. It is then, we will think about the next targets," concluded Nestor Gordillo.