‘Quirky hairstyles, tattoos and in-your-face attitude’ – Team India’s young brigade never shy away from following the footsteps of star footballers who rule the roost in the sporting world in terms of setting the latest trends. Apart from garnering enough praise or attention for their fabulous cricketing skill and acumen, the likes of – Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul or Shreyas Iyer love to style themselves both on and off the pitch.

Zinedine Zidane fan Rohit Sharma says some of the India cricketers who have distinguished themselves in cricket, don’t mind following the footballers when it comes to hairstyles. Rohit was at ease speaking about football, his favourite player, team and club after being named the India brand ambassador of La Liga giants Real Madrid.

“The young guys who have come into the team like Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, they all follow football and they do watch all these footballers, their hairstyle and what they do with their hairstyle..” said the explosive Indian opener on Thursday.

Asked who was his favourite player and club, Rohit said Zidane and Real Madrid. No wonder Rohit wants Real Madrid to win the Champions League. Next up was the favourite FIFA World Cup team, and the answer was Spain.

“This is not because I am associated with La Liga. I used to love Zinedine Zidane, I watched him play and that’s how I started watching football regularly and Spain obviously because of their skills, how they play football.

“Real Madrid is again because of the skill and passion, how they play and how much skills they have within the group,” he said.

He is also the first non-footballer in the Spanish league’s history to be named as the brand ambassador. When asked who is the best footballer in the Indian cricket team and Rohit was quick to reply, “There are lots of them actually, we have got Zlatan Ibrahimovic in our squad as well, that’s Ishant Sharma. MS Dhoni is the number one football player.”

Rohit said the standard of Indian football has improved in recent years. “Indian football has taken giant leap in last few years. It has become competitive and you can see that when you watch ISL and when you see the Indian national team play against all the opposition.”

“The infrastructure has grown immensely and ISL, in particular, has provided a good platform to younger Indian players to come out and display the skills, just like how IPL has done for Indian cricket.”

On the association with La Liga, Rohit said, “Football in India, is in its global growth trajectory and it is heartening to see that it is no more considered as the ‘sleeping giant’.

“Over the course of the past five years, we have witnessed significant growth in the interest for football in India. Credit must be given to everyone associated with it, including the fans.”