New Delhi, Bengaluru FC and India goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is one of the few from the country to have managed to play abroad and the only Indian to make an appearance in the UEFA Europa League. According to Sandhu, players have to start from scratch to make a name for themselves in foreign clubs.
“I think it made me better by leaps and bounds as a player and in terms of mentality,” Sandhu said in an Instagram live video chat with the All India Football Federation (AIFF). “It made me independent. The exposure didn’t only help me as a player but made me tougher as a person. It makes you a person who can deal with every kind of situation.”
“There are a lot of sacrifices which one needs to make to achieve the desired results.
“I don’t want to sugarcoat things. Some people think that playing in a foreign country is about having a lavish lifestyle, big house, good car. It’s not that at all. You have to start from scratch. You have to prove that you are good enough to be on the bench and then in the starting XI. And that’s at a smaller club in a smaller league — unless you’re a Messi or a Ronaldo,” the 28-year-old custodian explained.
“But for guys like me — you have to be mentally strong to stay there and work. Many people don’t know the reality. If you want to do well, you need to acclimatize to those conditions. Many younger players may not want to make the required sacrifices as they are comfortable in India,” he said.
Sandhu played for Norwegian side Stabaek between 2014 and 2017 after which he returned to India. He has played for Bengaluru FC ever since.