Former English Premier League defender Peter Ramage, who has signed for Indian Super League outfit Kerala Blasters, has claimed the ISL provides the perfect opportunity to impress for players who are at a crossroads in their career.
Ramage, 31, has plied his trade with Newcastle, QPR, and Crystal Palace, among other clubs, in the past. The centre-back, who joins the Sachin Tendulkar co-owned side for this season, also mentions that coming to play in India was something he never thought he would do.
He went on to say that a meeting between former Crystal Palace boss Peter Taylor – the current coach of Kerala Blasters - and Palace chairman Steve Parish, during Julian Speroni's testimonial at Selhurst Park in May this year, proved to be the clincher.
"I came down for Jules' testimonial in May, and on the way home I got a phone call from Peter Taylor, who said he'd been at the game and spoken to the chairman," Ramage told Sky Sports.
"It was just an enquiry [whether he wants to play in India]; it wasn't something I was thinking about. It wasn't something I was given much time to think about, I had just a few days to make my mind up and weigh everything up."
The presence of big names and football legends among the eight franchisee teams is one of the factors that prompted Ramage to take up the ISL assignment, and he says that the presence of stars like Roberto Carlos, Nicolas Anelka, as well as Simao has given the league that extra zing.
"From what I've been hearing, the league are looking to bring in established players at a crossroads in their career," Ramage continued.
"Simao, the Portuguese winger [NorthEast United FC's marquee player], Lucio, the Brazilian centre half [FC Goa's marquee player] – these are players coming to the end of their careers, but still have a lot to offer.
"They're legends of the game and will still demand the same level they had a couple of years ago, so it's only going to get better and more competitive. I've always wanted to play abroad but I never thought it was going to be India."
Heaping praise on Delhi Dynamos player-manager Roberto Carlos as well as Mumbai City FC player-manager Nicolas Anelka, Ramage said: "Roberto Carlos has been – and still is – one of the best left backs in the world. I was speaking to Andre [Moritz], because he knows him from Brazil, and he couldn't speak highly enough of him.
"Nicolas Anelka is still fantastic and has gone for a hell of a lot of money in his time. The season before last, he was still scoring in the Premier League. To pit my wits against these kinds of players is something that I'm relishing."
The former Newcastle defender has won a Championship title with QPR in the 2010-11 season, and he was a part of the Crystal Palace side that clinched promotion to the Premier League in the 2012-13 season.