Former Chelsea star Florent Malouda believes that there is immense scope for football to improve in India, but the first and foremost thing remains the ambition to do so.
Malouda has been plying his trade on Indian soil for the first time thanks to the Indian Super League, where he features for Delhi Dynamos. The 35-year-old attacking midfielder, who has lifted the Premier League as well as the UEFA Champions League with the Blues in the past, believes that the ISL can turn itself around to be a gamechanger for Indian football.
"I think football must improve in India. There are a lot of things that can be achieved here," Malouda said during a media interaction at the Delhi University Sports Complex.
"India must have the ambition to have a great football team. It's new for me, I haven't played with Indian players before. Apart from the ISL, there must be other things too. ISL is a good start as it is attracting players and is focused and generating interest," he added.
Patience remains the key for any football tournament to shoot off to the levels of a Premier League or a Bundesliga or even the MLS (Major League Soccer), and Malouda explained the same.
"However, you cannot build a Premier League instantly, but the ISL is not the only answer. A lot of things need to be done. I don't think India is ready to have a longer league yet."
Heaping praise on the young Indian footballers, the Frenchman stated that there is immense room for improvement, but the main thing for the Indian footballers is to have a right mentality to keep learning more.
Malouda also said that he admires the human qualities of these players.
"They [Indian footballers] have a lot of potential. It's been really a pleasure to be playing with them. I like their human qualities. I have learnt to communicate with them and now I'm very close with them," Malouda explained.
"They are working hard in training and listen to the advice we give them. Their confidence is growing and that is being seen on the pitch. They are taking responsibilities."
"Robin Singh came back from the national team and made a difference. There is room to improve but for that mentality needs to be changed," he mentioned.
Malouda will be in action once again in the ISL on Tuesday as Delhi Dynamos host NorthEast United FC at the JLN Stadium in the national capital.