23.03.2016 - JAIPUR FA RELEASE : Shiv’s dream of arriving to the professional football’s elite has become true in Barcelona, where the young Indian talent is defending the colours of Fundación Marcet, one of the most prestigious pool of young players in Spain.

Born in Rajasthan 20 years ago, Shiv Pratap Singh Ranawat was the first one to arrive to the cradle of European football. As a real pioneer, he arrived in 2014 to Barcelona and soon stood out for his skills in the football pitch so much that it didn’t take long for him to gain a place in Fundación Marcet’s starting eleven. Today, more than 10 Indian footballers are playing in this prestigious 'cantera' of young footballers.

“Everybody welcomed me with open arms”, recalls Shiv, the Indian midfielder who started playing football at 13 as many of his fellow nationals. “Football is not very popular in India, but here things are different, because boys are already in a team at 6-7 years old”, the midfielder says.

jaipur football academy - Rajasthan

Shiv has realized that there is an atmosphere of football all day long in Spain. This sport is in the culture of the country, in millions of people day-to-day. And this is what a player aspiring to become a professional footballer can desire the most. “This is why there are more and more Indians who leave their country in order to get an opportunity”, explains Prashant, an Indian teammate of Shiv. “Here there are better facilities; it is natural for people to want to go abroad. In Europe there are the conditions to train properly”. Also 20 years old, Prashant Narayan Choudhary arrived to Barcelona after Shiv, but both came from the same team: Jaipur FC. After a meticulous selection process, Marcet chose these two football young talents to give them a chance in Europe. A golden opportunity so the Indian players can begin to show their quality in Spain. And this is exactly what Shiv and Prashant are doing: open the doors so other players can follow their lead.

All the Indian players of Fundación Marcet were officially presented to the public and the media in a ceremony that took place in the unforgettable modernist location of San Pau. The president José Ignacio Marcet and several diplomatic authorities were among the audience. During the presentation, the footballers answered questions to explain their feelings, ambitions and motivations. Then, they signed their first European contract and posed for the cameras with their new Marcet shirt.

"European football is the best", Sharma Lokesh said before the audience. "Barcelona is the place to be if you want to become a professional player", this 18 years old Indian player recalled. "Plus, in Fundación Marcet you are not only prepared for football, but for life too".

jaipur football academy - Rajasthan

The young talents follow an intense training program in Barcelona to which anything else is subject to. They study and leave their residence as any other boy of his age, but in his day-to-day, football comes first. From the moment they wake up until they go to bed everything is organized and planned so they can devote as long as possible to the “king of sports”. It is not only about training sessions. There are also the theory, psychological, motivational sessions and the match analysis, a complete program that covers all the footballer’s needs.

“We train in the morning and in the afternoon, and the intensity is always high. Besides, here we have the chance to play in great international tournaments and we are constantly next to players from other countries: Spanish, Brazilians, Argentineans… We learn a great deal from them”, Shiv explains regarding to the international character of Marcet’s project, in which hundreds of boys coming from the five continents coexist. The 'crème de la crème' of Under-19 world football is in this football academy.

“Here we work very hard, we all do, both players and coaches”, says Prashant who plays in his team as a right back or as a right winger. "We select the boy not only because of his talent but because of his positive attitude and much room for improvement”, states José Ignacio Marcet, chairman of Fundación Marcet that bears his name: “Both he and Shiv have evolved a great deal since their arrival to Barcelona. They are in their element because they find an atmosphere that allows getting out the best in them. They have found what they needed to make a leap forward towards first level teams”.

Clubs such as FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF represent the ideal goal, the greatest dream of any footballer. Shiv, Prashant, Sharma and the other indians of Fundación Marcet are not an exception. They are satisfied because they have already arrived very far, but they still want more and they know they are in the correct place and in the good way to reach even more prestigious acknowledgement and place India definitely in the pinnacle of international football.

Fixture and Result of 4th Edition of Frolic Cup 2015