Football is known to be the beautiful game but in India, it did not reach the majesty to fill coffers. Even the players — with their skill set and flair — couldn’t capsize the targeted rank. But the Indian Super League (ISL) arrived in 2014 bringing in a congregation of former international football stars, few operated as players and the rest, as coach. They are all set to escalate their sport training in historic spots.

Two franchises — FC Goa and Atletico De Kolkata — flew Brazil and Spain respectively under the tutelage of their coaches (Zico and José Francisco Molina ) to up their ante ahead of the upcoming season.

According to reports, 12 Indian footballers left for Rio de Janeiro from Dabolim International Airport (Goa) on August 29, the foreign recruits will join the team directly at the camp.

The legendary Zico, the man behind FC Goa’s good run in the league since first season, believes in toughening up the blokes in adverse conditions.

They are likely to be pitted against local Brazilian clubs, test their skills rubbing shoulders with the raw talent from the ghettos.

“Our pre-season will be here in Rio where we are playing friendly matches against some strong teams. This will immensely benefit our Indian and foreign players. Our thinking is that if our pre-season this year is as good as it was last year, the chances of success will increase significantly. So, for me, our pre-season in Brazil will be a trump card for us," said Zico.

Mandar Rao Desai, the winger, already trained with Villareal CF in Spain to beef up. He could sense the disparity between Europe, South America and the local grounds in Mapusa where he grew up.

“Football in India and abroad is completely different. I am sure the stint in Brazil will help the team understand each other better before the start of ISL,” he said.

The team will return to India on September 24.

Their name came on loan from Spanish club Atletico Madrid, their first coach, Antonio Habas (also a Spaniard), won them the inaugural season; even their marquee player back then (Luis Garcia) happened to be a star from Spain. Therefore, the franchise warming up amidst flamenco music and dance isn’t a disclosure as such. But what could the team benefit from their outing under the new head coach?

It is a part of team building. Over time, the triumphant combination from the class of 2014 underwent changes. If Garcia led the team with panache and glamour, Iain Hume stole the show scoring with a bandaged head in the last season.

There are three new recruits this season — Stephen Paul Pearson, Dani Mallo and Pablo José Gallardo Zurera, all Spaniards. The team will also have a new fortress, they are moving out of the Salt Lake Stadium to Rabindra Sarobar Stadium.

Zico’s men sprang from nowhere in 2014 to impress in the dying stages of the tournament. But last year, the trophy belonged to them. After ruling the turf throughout, they lost the final 3-2 to Chennaiyin FC. Football — a religion in Goa — couldn’t shine on the Susegad foot; instead, it led to police and trouble. A scuffle between Chennaiyin FC skipper Elano Blumer and FC Goa officials threw dirt on the tournament. FC Goa was fined, Zico’s head hung in shame, he would want to do an encore and finish off with a clean chit. However, the 11-crore fine was reduced to 6 crore and the 15-point penalty was called off too but the wounds will remain till FC Goa lifts the trophy.