Newcastle United academy graduate Michael Chopra is heading to India to work alongside cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and David James at Kerala Blasters
Michael Chopra has become the latest marquee name to sign up for the Indian Super League, with the ex-Newcastle United, Sunderland and Cardiff City striker picked to play for the Kerala Blasters, the team co-owned by Sachin Tendulkar.
The cricketing legend has already appointed former England international goalkeeper David James as player/manager of the franchise side, with the new eight-team league set to commence this October.
It marks the start of a new chapter for the 30-year-old forward, who struggled with gambling problems during more recent spells at Ipswich Town and Blackpool.
Chopra spent 13 years on the books of Newcastle as a youngster, with his one highlight for the Magpies coming with a goal scored 15 seconds after coming on as a substitute in a 4-1 victory away at Sunderland.
It remains the fastest goal ever scored by a substitute in the history of the Premier League and while the Newcastle-born forward would go on to play for the Black Cats, his best form came at Cardiff City, where he racked up 50 goals in 117 Championship appearances across two spells at the club.
And it was this impressive record, coupled with his Premier League experience that helped convince James that he was the man to bring to the Kerala Blasters.
"When the drafts came up, the first name that caught our attention was that of Chopra," he told reporters.
"We immediately decided to have him and are happy to have him in this team."
Chopra is the latest former Premier League star to sign up for the Indian Super League, with Arsenal legend Freddie Ljungberg and former Liverpool favourite Luis Garcia among the big names already recruited for the two-month long competition.
The 30-year-old former Newcastle man is eligible to play for India at international level through his father, and came close to featuring for the national team at the 2011 Asian Cup only to be denied an Indian passport.