Brazil's Ronaldinho deal with India's Mahindra Utd

India's Mahindra United FC has been trying a number of things over the past one year to improve its output on the football field. The Mumbai club had tried to strike a deal with Inter Milan over bolstering its youth own youth development program but the deal with the Italian giants didn’t work out. This time, however, the club’s efforts seem ready to take off. According to Sudeep Parkrashi of The Indian Express, Mahindra United are set to forge a formal tie-up with Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho’s own football academy by early next year. Based in Porto Alegre, the Ronaldinho Football Academy (RFA) is run jointly by Ronaldinho’s brother Assif da Silva Moreira, and Ronaldinho’s cousin brother Edmilson.

“Going by the discussions with the RFA directors so far, we are looking at a tie-up between the RFA and Mahindra United on youth development and coaches’ education programe. Our coach Derek Pereira has been invited by the RFA to visit the Brazilian academy. The RFA is expected to send over a team of coaches to our club to train our coaches,” a senior Mahindra United club official told The Indian Express. “According to what Assif told me, they have two proper-sized stadiums with good infrastructure. The RFA has age-group batches from U-14 to U-18, from which the players are signed up by various clubs like Porto Alegre," he said. The Porto Alegre team is currently busy playing the second-division league in Brazil, and most of the players in the outfit are products of the RFA

“We will finalise the visit to the RFA very soon. If this project works out, it will be of tremendous benefit for our young players. I am told that the RFA will send over its team to India from next year onwards to take part in a few exhibition matches,” coach Pereira elaborated. Apart from this deal, the Mumbai club is bringing over a physical trainer from the RFA ahead of the National Football League starting January 2007.