Kolkata, July 29: It was a prized moment for several budding football players of the city who Sunday had an opportunity for a photo op with Dutch football legend Ruud Gullit at the Mohun Bagan day celebrations.
Gullit, who is in the city on a two day visit, was the chief guest at the celebrations and stole the show with his ability to mix not only with the budding footballers and established players but also with the club's cricketers.
"I was going through the history of this club and I think it was the game of football that became the symbol of oppression against the Englishmen. Football is not just a sport... it is something stronger than that. I am very honoured to be present here," said Gullit.
Gullit recollected how he had dedicated his footballer of the year award in 1987 to Nelson Mandela without being fully aware of the significance of the gesture.
Gullit received a standing ovation as soon as he entered the Netaji Indoor stadium - the venue of the programme and waved to the crowd to acknowledge their applause.
The nursery football team players, who were felicitated during the programme, jostled among themselves to meet Gullit. Sensing their excitement, Gullit obliged the nursery team with a photo op with him.
Gullit also exchanged pleasantries with cricketers such as Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Wriddhiman Saha, Debobrata Das and other cricketers from Mohun Bagan.
State Panchayat Minister and vice president of Mohun Bagan Club Subrata Mukherjee also had a brief chat with Gullit.
The Dutch ex-soccer star unveiled a new Mohun Bagan team jersey designed by singer Babul Supriyo. IANS