Former Chelsea, Juventus and Fiorentina striker Adrian Mutu may have turned 36, but wants to use his superior technique and experience to bang in the goals for FC Pune City in the Indian Super League's second season, which starts in October.
Mutu, who signed as Pune City's marquee player today and has had an eventful and at times, controversial football career, also said that he doesn't need to prove anything to anyone during his stint in India.
"Of course when I get on the pitch, I play to honour my name but if you're asking me whether I need to prove anything to anyone, then no. I think I have done that in my career. What is important is to share my experience with the Indian players in my team," he told Firstpost on the phone, after the signing was confirmed by the club.
Mutu made a flying start to his Chelsea career after a £15.8 million move from Parma in August 2003, scoring four goals in his first three matches in the Premier League. But things took an ugly turn when he failed a cocaine test the following year. A long case ensued with Chelsea, the player and his future club Juventus also involved—and its verdict that the striker would have to pay the Premier League champions €17 million (approximately £12 million) still hangs on his reputation.
Apart from that though, there is no doubt about Mutu's pedigree. In 421 pro appearances, the Romanian has scored 154 goals and created another 48. He is best known for his clinical finishing and long shots. His whoscored profile also rates his heading and hold-up play as 'strong'.
But as age catches up, the Premier League winner admits that these strengths only come into play if a body is fit.
"I will probably have more technique and more experience than others on the pitch (in the ISL). But it's very important to maintain fitness to put this technique in place. We still have a month-long pre-season with Pune and that is when I'll look to come to full sharpness," he said.
Mutu hasn't had a chat with new Pune manager David Platt yet ("very soon, there is time for that," he said) but the Englishman said that he has admired him for quite some time: "Adrian has experience at the highest level and a professional motivation to succeed. I've admired him from afar for some years and am very excited at the prospect of us working together for the benefit of FC Pune City," he said in a statement, issued shortly after the signing was announced.
The Romanian striker will not only have to adapt to the conditions professionally, but also the culture of living in India. Even though he has "done some research" about the country and the city, and seemed quite shocked by the sheer number of people living in India, he is looking forward to the new experience.
"Romania and India are culturally very different which is why I am very happy and excited to be part of the ISL and discover India. I have done some research about the league too and I know it is going to get stronger year after year. Just take the first and the second season; the second is much bigger," he said.
Mutu's also quite clear of what he wants to achive in India: "Score goals, make assists and most importantly connect with the purpose of the club. When the club wins, everyone wins."
Mutu replaces French World Cup winner David Trezeguet as Pune's most potent threat in the forward line, and will most probably line up with Costa Rican Yendrick Ruiz up top. The Hrithik Roshan-Wadhawan Group-ACF Fiorentina venture has also signed Ivory Coast midfielder Didier Zokora and English left-back Nicky Shorey. Among the Indians, their biggest names are Jackichand Singh, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Gouramangi Singh and Lenny Rodriguez.
Pune's campaign kicks off on October 5 against Maharashtra rivals Mumbai City FC.
The writer tweets @TheFalseNo9
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Updated Date: Jul 31, 2015 10:05:30 IST