While football lovers in India are eagerly awaiting the arrival of arguably the best player of the present era – Lionel Messi – for an Argentina-Venezuela friendly on September 2, the match will also be a vehicle to tap the huge market for merchandising in the country.Argentina and Barcelona football star Lionel Messi is expected to play in Kolkata this September. APWith even the Spanish League’s kick-off timings set to be reworked for the next season to suit Asian viewers, it comes as no surprise that the craze for the likes of Messi and Carlos Tevez among Indian youngsters will be used to open new avenues for merchandising.Even though Messi, Tevez, Gonzalo Higuain and Javier Mascherano are widely known names in the country, the move to play the friendly on Indian soil – arguably the highest-profile match ever in the country- will help in not only promoting their country and clubs, but also increase the sale of their merchandise here.Bhaswar Goswami, chief of Celebrity Management Group (CMG), says that other than promoting the game in the country, Argentina will also use the opportunity to tap the huge Indian market and promote their stars so as to increase sale of their merchandise. “There is immense craze for football in the country and we all know the kind of respect the likes of Messi and Tevez commend in this country. So it isn’t too much of a surprise that they will look into merchandising and using the still widely untapped market in the country.advertisement”Despite these stars never setting foot on Indian soil, many youngsters are mad about these players and are often seen buying original jerseys of these stars at huge prices, so their very presence will definitely augur well for Argentina’s marketing team,” he told MAIL TODAY.Clearing all doubts over Messi’s presence in the squad, Goswami said: “I had a direct interaction with the Argentina manager and when the contract was forwarded to them for the friendly to be played at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata, we had clearly mentioned that the presence of Messi and Tevez was a must.”So they signed the contract knowing that Messi and Tevez’s presence was mandatory. The manager has also informed that Mascherano is most likely to lead the team.” Goswami cleared any doubts over the infrastructural capability of the stadium to hold the match.”All these rumours that the match might be shifted to another venue are baseless. The players know that the ground has artificial turf and they have no issues playing on it. There were a few issues with the players’ arena as it is a FIFA friendly and the facilities need to be world- class. But work has already started and with the kind of co- operation that we have got from the state government, I am sure we will be ready well in advance of the September 2 match.”In fact, designs were sent from Argentina to meet the demand of the stars and the refurbishment is being done accordingly. Moreover, we are looking to improve the facilities for the spectators as well, so that they can watch one of the biggest matches comfortably,” he said.Although bucket seats are must for any FIFA match, Goswami reiterated that they are not mandatory for international friendlies.