For 18-year-old city-based emerging footballer, Rithik Thacker, October of this year will mark a high-point in his blossoming career as he is poised to take a step closer to the dream of parading his talent in Spain and across Europe.

The child prodigy, who is a gifted right winger, will be participating in a month-long exclusive international clinic under Albert Viñas Aliau at the famed Tecni-futbol International Academy (Complex Esportiu Futbol Salou) in Barcelona from October 4.

The second year B Com (Computers) student at St Mary’s Degree College, who hails from Ahmedabad and belongs to a business family, is looking forward to his ‘tryst with destiny’ with the enthusiasm of a starry-eyed rookie just about taking baby steps to the destination.

‘My ambition since the time I took to the sport about nine years ago has been to play for clubs in Europe, more so in Spain. I keep track of Champions League, Bundesliga and La Liga by watching matches on TV so that I could learn skills and techniques that can help further my own standards. I have been fortunate that I had mentors like James, Pavan, Ashok and ES Shyam, my sirs who have been constant sources of encouragement and inspirations’, points out the lanky youngster during a training session at Gymkhana Ground.

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It is the aspiration of perhaps every football player across the globe to play in the premier European League Championships, whose popularity is next only to the FIFA World Cup.

Rithik has not just played at the inter-school and Osmania University inter-college levels but has proven to be a player gifted with a natural ability for the beautiful game. This is apart from getting tuned at the Soccer Academy Hyderabad, which was floated by former footballers like ES Shyam from State Bank of India, who wished to produce the next generation of players from the city that was once reverred as the nursery for the sport in India. ‘I shall be indebted to the efforts of Mr Mohd Shamsuddin, whose Sports Village has been rendering yeomen football and tennis service to the budding talent with their international coaching camps in Hyderabad. It was he who has taken the initiative to firm up my resolve to get a feel of Spanish football by making the arrangement,’ acknowledges Rithik about the man who is facilitating the travel and stay, which would be at Cambrils Park Resort.

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Meanwhile, he states that his ambition is to ‘don the Real Madrid and or Barcelona FC colours. Wearing their jerseys and playing for them remains the ultimate dream for me. I wish to be prolific and successful as a football professional to the extent that I can stay there along with my parents as my thanksgiving gesture to them for all the toil they have put in and the support they have extended so that I could chase my dreams. My quest is to give them a qualitative lifestyle. ’

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Once he returns from the camp, and richer from the experience, Rithik Thacker could well be the best big bet from Hyderabad. #KhabarLive