Kolkata: New horizons will open up for Indian football with the ongoing Under-17 FIFA World Cup the nation is hosting, Dutch legend Marco van Basten said here on Thursday.
Van Basten, now Chief Officer for Technical Development, FIFA, would watch the tournament final at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan between Spain and England on Saturday.
Asked about the impact the tournament would have on Indian football, he said "football in India will get a new horizon with the U-17 World Cup".
One of the greatest footballers of all time, Van Basten won the Ballon d'Or thrice, and was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1992.
He said it was his first visit to the eastern metropolis.
On Wednesday, he watched the semi-final clash between Spain and Mali, which the European nation won 3-1.
"Very nice match. Very spectacular, very exciting. Mali and Spain have very good players," he said.
Van Basten said he also enjoyed the other semi final between England and Braziil. England won 3-1 to set up a title clash with Spain.
"It was also a very interesting game. I think level was extremely high."
Commenting on the standard of the ongoing World Cup, he said: " When I think about myself, at this age, I was not so professional, and not so good as all the guys are now. It's very positive. It is an interesting tournament."
Comparing Argentine great Lionel Messi and Portuguese mega star Cristiano Ronaldo, van Basten said their rivalry was akin to that between tennis stars Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.