A self-confessed football fan, Sourav Ganguly on Sunday hoped Indian football would get a huge boost by hosting the Under-17 World Cup in 2017.
"I'm sure the 2017 World Cup will give a big push to the sport. It will bring young kids back to the fields. I know cricket attracts a lot of kids who want to be like Sachin or nowadays Virat Kohli," the former India captain said.
"U-17 World Cup 2017 will bring a lot of young boys. It's a fantastic sport. The passion and the excitement the sport can generate is unbelievable," he said on the sidelines of FIFA World Cup's India leg tour.
"I'm sure all of us will agree that the sport has taken a beating in Kolkata and India. It needs a massive push to bring it back to where it was. Kolkata will remain always the heart of football. We all want to see the game go back to where it was."
Batting for Brazil, Ganguly further added: "Football in Brazil is complete different. Football is at its greatest when Brazil are at their best. They have the team to win the Trophy.
"I'm keen to watch Neymar who has set the world on fire. Hope he stays fit. He can make a massive difference to Brazil.
"If Brazil is the heart of world football, Kolkata is the heart of Indian football," he added.
Ganguly said he grew up watching football. "I'm a massive football fan. I make sure to watch it. World Cup football is unbelievable. It glues you on to TV. I've grown up watching football and took up cricket at very late age," Ganguly said.
"The World Cup football is such a massive event to everyone. We talk about cricket such a big sport in the country. Imagine football, which is played in more than 200 countries around the world. How big the World Cup event would be?
"I've seen football of our golden era. I remember finishing school in the afternoon and take the bus to Mohun Bagan and East Benga to watch football from the gallery," Ganguly remembered.
Welcoming former Brazilian captain Carlos Alberto Torres, the lefthander further hoped that Brazil would be at their best when they host the next year's World Cup.
"It's great to have Carlos Albrerto (Torres) here. It's great to see Brazil host the World Cup. Carlos said we're getting there. Hopefully, it will be a complete bonanza."
Sitting beside newly-crowned Bharat Ratna, Tendulkar, Ganguly further said: "It's a fantastic award for a fantastic cricketer. You look a lot fresher. That's what the retirement does."