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With Sunil Chhetri, I don't have to look. I have to just run and pounce on the pass: BFC's Miku

By Aravind
Bengaluru FC striker Miku in Rayo Vallecano colours

Bengaluru, November 15: One half of Nicolas Ladislao Fedor Flores' descent gave him the nickname Miku - a word that sounds close to Miklos, the Hungarian equivalent of his first name. The other part of him has given him a chance to represent Venezuela as an international footballer.

Fifty-one appearances and 11 international goals later, Miku lands in a strange foreign country like how his grandfather escaped to Venezuela during World War II. But it's not war that brings Miku to Indian Super League side Bengaluru FC. It's that chance to play in "the fourth best watched league in the world and make my name" that has made Miku leave and miss home - rather his second home - Spain.

"It's different (to move to a new country) and it's hard because the (Indian) culture is different," Miku, former striker of Valencia, Getafe and Rayo Vallecano, said. "I am here alone. I am without my three daughters (Nicole, Itana and Miranda) and wife. They live in Spain. For me, it's the worst thing. Of course I play football. It's the happiest thing, but after my kids."

There's no love lost for his native country Venezuela though. Miku has criticised the Late Hugo Chavez in numerous interviews before, but he now says he reserves his comments on the ongoing political turmoil in his native country.

And that's where Spain naturally fits in. He has been in Europe since he was 15 years old, landing at the Valencia Youth Academy in 2001, and stepped out once to spend a season in Qatari club Al-Gharafa.

Miku's top moments

I have too many. I played the most important tournaments in Europe - Champions League and Europa League. But I can think of two great moments.
One was the first game in La Liga for Valencia. That day, I realised that it took 10 years of hard work to get to arrive there. I played with Silva, Mata and other top players. I was young and did not get many chances, but I enjoyed that.
After that, when I went to Getafe, I scored a goal against Sevilla in one game (on April 16, 2011). It was important for me and the club. I came in after some bad experience and injuries. I had an offer from a Mexican club as well at that time. The coach, Michel, told me that I was needed here, and that I am an important player. He told me about the bad situation we were because we might get relegated. That 1-0 win lifted us off the relegation zone and we stayed in La Liga.

Here, the Spanish connect is not lost. Apart from coach Albert Roca and assistant Carles Cuadrat, there are five other Spanish players in the squad. He says he fits in naturally, and even could call Bengaluru his second home one day.

"I will try to bring them (family) here in January 2018," Miku continued. "But it's not easy because they have school and friends. However, everyone has helped me here with everything. Whether it's a bank or supermarket, I was guided to go to different places. Then it's the time to enjoy our outings in the field. The only bad part is that I am without my family.

"The Spaniards are close to me. I played for 10 years there. I know them. The language is important in getting to befriend someone. For example, Juanan is here from the last year. He knows everything (in Bangalore). He keeps telling me to go places where you can find fish, meat or good coffee. He's been a good support for me."

Not to forget, he also has an adopted son here, well, almost. "I have an Indian son in the team as well," he laughs. "It's the third or fourth goalkeeper - Calvin (Abhishek). I bring him to the gym when there's no work, and they (teammates) make fun of us saying he's my Indian son."

Miku has been training under Roca for the last four weeks and even managed to score during their friendlies against East Bengal and Minerva Punjab. A natural goal-poacher, Miku uses his athleticsm to ward off physical defenders and find gaps to sneak goals in. His goalscoring record too has been good. In 92 caps for Getafe across five seasons, he managed 26 goals in La Liga. He also struck 13 for Rayo Vallecano between 2015-17 and hopes to be a goalscoring machine in the ISL.

"I like to have a good combination with the midfielders," he said. "I am a box striker but I play outside too. But I feel most comfortable inside the box. If the people in my team understand my movements and know me, we can deliver a great performance."

His combination with the Indians, especially BFC skipper Sunil Chhetri, is improving, he says. "Sunil is a top player. We've a good relationship. He knows that I need him and vice-versa. I think the coach told us that if we play together, we can have more quality in the team. He's easy to play with. I don't have to say anything. He looks at me and I look at him. He knows the way I think. We do the right movement. I know the ball is coming and I just run for without looking because I know that he will send it to me," he said.

Bengaluru FC play their first ISL game against Mumbai City FC on November 19 (Sunday) at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.

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    Story first published: Wednesday, November 15, 2017, 17:56 [IST]
    Other articles published on Nov 15, 2017
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