The veteran gaffer stressed that the presence of big names will boost the game’s popularity in India.
Arsene Wenger, the manager of Arsenal remarked that the Indian Super League (ISL) will grow bigger with time.
“If you look at the history of football, it has always become quicker and it looks like it grows everywhere. It's like a virus that multiplies, so I don't imagine that it won't take off,” he said in an interview with the Arsenal magazine.
“It took a while in the United States but it's now very popular. It faces cricket in India but there's always room for a second sport. There's only really badminton and cricket in India at the moment but there's room for another sport.
“I know that the people there watch the Premier League and I'm convinced that with such a huge population, it will take off,” he further added.
A number of ageing stars are part of the new league including five former Arsenal players, namely Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungberg, Andre Santos, Mikael Silvestre and Nicolas Anelka. The Frenchman opined that the footballers should continue playing till they enjoy the game.
“Being completely at the top finishes when you are 34 at the latest. After that, you have different leagues like the MLS and the Indian Super League. I encourage players to play as long as possible if they really love it. (Robert) Pires is 40 but he still plays and when he comes to training here, he's still very good.
“The only thing I always say is that once you're on the pitch, you give your best. Your age doesn't matter - people can understand that you're not as quick at 40 as you were at 30. Play with passion, with your heart and technical quality - that will be enough,” he told.
While Wenger conceded that several marquee players are past their prime, he stressed that their presence helps popularize the game in the country.
“They give a good image of the game. They can make football popular on different continents and in different countries, where it's taking off. I think it's fantastic,” Wenger said.