Indian cricket team’s limited-overs’ vice-captain and lifelong Real Madrid fan, Rohit Sharma was unveiled as the brand ambassador for the La Liga in India at an event in Mumbai on Thursday.

“I’m very happy to come onboard,” said the star opener. “It feels like a dream come true; I’ve been a Real Madrid fan my entire life and look forward to going to Spain to watch games.”

Rohit Sharma is also the first non-footballer to be appointed the brand ambassador of La Liga across the world. He likened the football culture in Spain to the immense following cricket has in India.

“Football in Spain is a lot like cricket in India, in terms of the expectations and pressure from fans and watching that taught me a lot about teamwork and it helps me relax after a game,” said Rohit.

Read | Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli are now joint leading run-scorers in T20Is

La Liga India’s managing director, Jose Antonio Cachaza claimed Rohit was the perfect person to be named in such a position. “He is a football person, has a massive following in India and supports the La Liga too,” he said.

Rohit also spoke about the Indian cricket team’s famous football warm-up matches. “Our positions change every game, it depends on who is made captain for the day. I love playing in midfield, I have quite a few skills up my sleeve,” he chuckled. “Jokes aside, those games get our energy up and playing early on the morning of a Test match also helps us wake up.”

The 32-year-old also spoke positively about the impact of the Indian Super League had had on Indian football. “Indian football has taken a giant leap since the ISL came into being, the infrastructure has given a lot of youngsters a chance and platform to express themselves much like the Indian T20 League,” stated Sharma.

“Of course, it has room for improvement, it was a bit easier for the Indian T20 League because cricket is so big in India. It will take time for ISL to gather pace and the numbers have grown every year, which is a great indicator.”

He insisted that the La Liga association will take some time to bear fruit and contribute to the growth in Indian football. “I believe that with the right approach and training, India can reach the pinnacle of world football and play the likes of Italy, France and other world-class teams.”

Read | A detailed look at Rohit Sharma’s record-breaking Test series

Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @ImRo45