Former Wellington Phoenix striker Roy Krishna is expected to make his debut this week for new Indian club Bengaluru FC amidst much hype about his attacking partnership with legendary forward Sunil Chhetri.
The pair are set to lead the Bengaluru attack in their season opener, a game against Jamshedpur FC in the 131st edition of the Durand Cup, the oldest football tournament in Asia.
Krishna turned down an offer to rejoin the Phoenix to sign for Bengaluru after his contract expired with Indian Super League side ATK Mohun Bagan.
Krishna (34), who has scored 31 goals in 45 international games for Fiji, will play alongside Chhetri (38) who has scored 84 goals in his 129 full internationals for India.
Chhetri’s haul ranks him in the top 10 international goalscorers of all time.
Speaking to Khel Now, Krishna said: “Sunil (Chhetri) is a great role model. I will learn a lot from him.”
‘We are just very happy that he is here’
For his part, Chhetri is pleased Krishna signed for Bengaluru. He told Nine News:
“I think the pairing is overhyped. It’s not the pairing, it’s just Roy. Just happy with Roy.
” … we just gotta make sure that he (Roy) is happy because we know what he brings to the table. He has been outstanding in the training. We all know how good he can be on the pitch, but even off the pitch, he is trying his best to be part of the squad, making sure he talks to all the youngsters. He is very chirpy.
“With so much experience, he doesn’t shy away from his opinion and makes sure everyone is happy around. Knowing the local language really helps. We are just very happy that he is here.”
Bengaluru start their season with new coach Simon Grayson (52), who has coached top English sides including Leeds United, Leicester City and Aston Villa.