By Hindustan Times
Mumbai, Oct. 28 -- Spain's top football club FC Barcelona, has roped in Ranbir Kapoor as its brand ambassador. This is in an effort to promote the sport and club in India through charity matches and tie-ups with the brands that he endorses, namely Pepsi, Tata DoCoMo, Panasonic, Nissan, John Players and Hero Moto-Corp. FCB had also joined hands with Delhi-based Conscient Football to launch the FC Barcelone soccer camps in January to nurture young talent.
Football is Ranbir Kapoor's favorite sport. A huge Barca fan, the 29-year-old Bollywood star had big plans of catching Lionel Messi in action during a friendly in Kolkata in early September when Argentina took on Venezuala. However, unseasonal rains pushed forward a schedule of Anurag Basu's under-production film, Barfee and put paid to his plans. But Ranbir managed to meet his sporting idol during his recent trip to Barcelona. He returned with an autographed cap, some soccer moves that Messi, who plays for the club, had taught him and the determination to promote the sport at the school level.
"Football doesn't require much. A bunch of energetic players, a ball and a ground and you have a game on," smiles Ranbir who while shooting for his upcoming film Rockstar, would organise football matches among the crew in India and Prague during breaks.
"With FIFA and FCB coming to India with the promise of more funds, better facilities and training camps, I have hopes of India competing in a World Cup soon. It's not an impossible dream because we were pretty strong at one time even though today it's only cricket," he reasons.
Will we see Ranbir in a Chak De!! India kind of a movie then, may be directed by Prakash Jha, who had earlier made the entertaining Hip Hip Hooray? He says, "I don't know how much Chak De!! India did for our national sport, hockey, but yes, I'll do everything possible football, whether it's through school visits, charity matches, films or ad campaigns."