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Football, food, culture: Real Kashmir’s Brazilian forward Tiago Adan on life in India and playing in I-League

Having spent a significant period of his career playing in his native country Brazil, Tiago Adan has now set sight on his new goal, which is to be I-League’s top-scorer of the season. The Brazilian forward, who is relatively new in the Indian football circuit, has already taken long strides on this path, scoring a brace in Real Kashmir’s opener against Aizawl FC before the tournament was disrupted due to Covid-19. 

In the limited period in India, the 33-year-old has already won the IFA Shield with Real Kashmir and is confident to help the club notch their first-ever I-League crown. 

Adan comes with a rich footballing experience, having earlier represented multiple Brazilian and European clubs – Sport Club Corinthians Paulista, Club Athletico Paranaense, Associação Ferroviária de Esportes, Arapongas Esporte Club, Floriana FC, Hibernians FC. 

However, football in the South American nation and India is a completely different ball game. But Adan describes the transition to be “positive” so far, crediting the warm reception by the club and its players. Not only this, the Brazilian also highlights a similarity between players from the two countries, which he credits to make the transition much easier.  

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“Football in South America is more aggressive, but here in India, the football is more dynamic in style. A similarity between the footballing atmosphere in both the countries is that the players come from humble origins, chasing a dream, and hence, it made it easier for me to adapt well with my teammates,” the striker tells Hindustan Times in an interview. 

Chasing a common goal 

Real Kashmir in action against Aizawl FC in I-League(AIFF)

Adan has just spent a little less than half a season with the Snow Leopards but asserts he has 100 percent adjusted with the club’s atmosphere. “I am in tune with the club and player’s desire to win the title. All the players have the same mentality when it comes to football,” answers the Brazilian when asked about his equation with his teammates. 

“There are many young footballing talents here in our team and I really enjoy chatting with them. I try to help everyone with my experience, and give them advice which can help them in their growth. At the same time, I feel the youngsters are also helping me to grow as an individual in their own ways,” the forward explains further.   

Adan, who started playing the sport as a six-year-old, also feels that Brazil and India share a common footballing culture- which is “to provide happiness to the people.” 

Experience of living in India

Adan believes he is still a learner and is slowly trying to understand the customs and culture of India. However, if anything he has a complain about is the food, which he feels is the only thing that he is still trying to get accustomed to. 

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“I like to pay close attention to everything here in India – the traditions, the customs and the culture. I try to learn a little bit of everything I see and experience, so that in the future, I can teach my children the learnings that I take from India, and pass some of these experiences on to them.”

“I have enjoyed the Indian food, but somehow, I have been unable to adapt to the strong flavour of pepper. I can eat anything in India, but without pepper,” he concludes with a cheerful laugh.

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