And, Chennai-based Romario, who caught eyeballs during his debut Indian Super League (ISL) season, is counting the days. “I am really excited. I can’t wait for the first match. I am eager to experience the feel of AFC CL,” Romario told DT Next during a Zoom interaction.
“Each and every footballer would dream of playing at the highest level. So, I am extremely happy to be a part of the squad. I am unable to express my feeling in words.” With AFC CL being Asia’s top-tier club competition, Romario is fully aware of the arduous task at hand.
FC Goa, the first Indian club to directly qualify for the AFC CL group stage, has been placed alongside Iran’s Persepolis FC, Al Rayyan SC of Qatar and UAE’s Al Wahda FSCC. “We have some quality teams in our group. Persepolis finished runner-up last year. It will be a challenging experience as there will be a lot of high intensity matches,” said Romario.
“We won’t have proper rest in between games as five of our matches will begin at 10:30 pm IST. There will be little time to recover. As the matches will be played in quick succession, I think that the players will be rotated,” explained Romario, referring to FC Goa’s run of six games between April 14 and 29.
Having registered one goal and four assists in 21 appearances in ISL Season 7 in Goa, the 24-year-old wants to build on the momentum. “There has always been competition within the squad for my position. I have put in the hard work and played a lot of matches. I am satisfied with my performances in ISL. I look forward to carrying the good form,” he added.
Talking about the club’s preparations, under manager Juan Ferrando, ahead of its maiden AFC CL campaign, Romario said: “A week after the conclusion of our ISL season, we began training. We have been practising with high intensity. We have been training hard as we know what the competition demands from us. We are ready!”