My association with football goes back to the time when I was a seven-year-old. I played football in summer and cricket during winter. In 1978, before the TV arrived in our home, my grandfather and I would be glued to All India Radio, listening to the live commentary. That year Argentina defeated Netherlands (3-1) and their star player, Mario Kempes, finished as the tournament's top scorer with six goals. I also have fond memories of the 1982 and 1986 World Cup; I stayed up all night cheering for Maradona.
Talking of World Cup 2014, I believe the quality of football played in the Champions League is better than the World Cup. Most teams get approximately 2-3 weeks to practice together before the World Cup; it's a tough job for the coach, too, to get rid of the team's fatigue. The World Cup should start two months after the European season ends. In this season, we are already missing some favourites due to injuries.
I am supporting Germany and Holland. The German team is in top form and they are proving to be a tough force to beat; Holland as a team has a lot of talent. Among the current players, my favourite, in terms of form, is Cristiano Ronaldo and as far as talent is concerned, my vote goes to Lionel Messi. I am also looking forward to watching Manuel Neuer's goalkeeping. Besides these two teams, I'd put Spain among the top four and I consider Portugal as a dark horse, they may just have some surprises for football fans.
Besides my passion for singing and acting, my love for football is quite known in Kolkata. In 2012, I designed and created jerseys for the century-old Mohun Bagan football club. To this day, I play football every Monday and Thursday from 9.30 am-10.30 am. I am the first person, in Mumbai, to get the Brazuca ball (from London); it is yet to hit the stores in the city.
Having won the recent elections from my constituency, Asansol, I do have plans to promote the sport in the region. I want to build more football grounds and encourage the youth to play.
Will I be going to Brazil? I don't want to be distracted by football, I rather spend time on the Copacabana beach."
Babul Supriyo is Member of Parliamant, singer, actor. He spoke with Rama Sreekant