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21-Year-Old 'Ronaldo Bhai' from Muzzafarnagar Becomes Football's Poster Boy in UP

Nishu Kumar has been signed for a 3-year contract worth one crore by an ISL team.

Rakhi Bose |

Updated:July 5, 2018, 10:02 PM IST
While Christiano Ronaldo may be disappointed after Portugal crashed out of the FIFA World Cup 2018, Western UP’s ‘Ronaldo bhai’, causing ripples in the world of domestic football.

21-year-old Nishu Kumar who hails from the small town of Muzzafarnagar in Western Uttar Pradesh has been selected by Bangalore Football Club (BFC) for a three-year contract worth 1 crore rupees.

“We spotted him in 2014 when he came to Bangalore to play a pre-season friendly match with BFC. HE was in the India under-18 squad then. We had been looking for a midfield defender then and he possessed the skills we were looking for. So we signed him on,” said Aakash Vinay, the assistant media coordinator of BFC.

Nishu was signed up along with two other boys Malsawn Zuala Daniel Lahimpuria from Mizoram. All the boy’s had been training with Goa’s AIFF Elite Academy. Nishu got through to the esteemed academy after winning the ‘Tata Tea & Inter Milan Soccer Stars Talent Hunt’ in 2011.

In his first BFC debut, Nishu played the 2016 AFC Cup against Burma’s Ayeyawady United F.C. and has internationally represented his country in U-19 matches in Kyrgyzstan, Palestine and Qatar.

While traditionally not very popular in North Indian, Hindi-speaking states, football has emerged as a growing sport in UP.

The world-famous Stair School Football League (SSFL) decided to launch its UP chapter in 2015 to stake out football talent in the state.

Super Sports Society in Lucknow started a ‘Messi soccer club’ in January this year to distribute free footballs to enthusiasts.

And now ‘Ronaldo bhai’ who is from Muzzafarnagar, an area rife with communal riots and tensions, has become the region’s new poster boy.

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