Pune: Italian football professional Davide Colomba, who is midfielder for Indian Super League (ISL) franchise FC Pune City, believes that the inaugural tournament will be a step towards improving the quality of football in the country and help bridge the gap to the game's elite countries.
"In Europe, football is a modern sport. In Italy, it is the national sport, the same as cricket is in India. It (ISL) will be a good step towards modern football," he told indiansuperleague.com, when asked about the difference between the sport in India and Italy.
ISL begins Oct 12 with Atletico de Kolkata taking on Mumbai City FC in the opener at the fabled Salt Lake Stadium.
FC Pune City make their first appearance away against Delhi Dynamos FC Oct 14.
India are currently languishing at the 158th spot in the FIFA rankings, while four-time World Cup champions Italy are 13th in the table.
FC Pune City will be the Italian's first club outside his country, and interestingly, he will be coached by his father Franco Colomba.
The Italian midfielder expressed his delight at getting the opportunity to play alongside prolific French striker and Juventus star David Trezeguet.
"He gives us a lot of confidence and is a fine example of a professional footballer. He's humble and a winner," the 26-year old said.
He is optimistic about the team's chances in the tournament as the players are "slowly getting to know each other".
"We are gelling well together, both tactically and technically. Some Indian players are very nice guys, strong willed and hardworking, which gives us the possibility of reaching a common objective," the Bologna-born player said, adding: "My experience in the country so far has been fascinating."