Hardik Bhatt – It is overwhelming but at the same time I know what I need to do


Hardik Bhatt is the latest addition to the Islanders squad, who seems very promising as he earned his first start for the club on 19th February, 2023. The new loanee debuted on the day the celebrations began for Mumbai City FC as they lifted the Indian Super League Shield for the 2022-2023 season. One can only hope to take inspiration from this moment and make the most out of it.

Although the team lost the match to East Bengal by one goal to nothing, the debutant did not fail to impress the crowd and the critics, justifying his first start for the club. He put up a noteworthy defensive display as he made 6 successful tackles, 1 interception, 3 clearances, and 2 blocks. The right-back also contributed to the attacking gameplay with the passing accuracy averaging 76.74% for his 43 passes out of 63 touches. He created a clear goal-scoring chance in the 72nd minute of the match when he put a cross first-time into the box, but Lallianzuala Chhangte failed to put some power behind the shot, and the goalkeeper Kamaljit Singh gathered the ball comfortably.

Hardik Bhatt - It is overwhelming but at the same time I know what I need to do 6WdzqHbBYh
MCFC players celebrating with their Hero ISL Shield.

IFTWC brings to you the exclusives from our interview with the honest, humble, and hardworking Mumbaikar Hardik Bhatt.

Bhatt seems to be a polished academy product now, but it wasn’t until he was 18 that he realized what he wanted for himself and had to make some difficult choices as a young adult.

“I was 18 when I decided to pursue football professionally and it has been a journey since then.”

He dropped out of college to pursue the sport professionally and received the full support of his family, friends, partner, and especially his elder brother Aniket Bhatt.

“I am really grateful to them. They have been really supportive, my parents, my brother especially, and my girlfriend. They have all been there through all my thick and thin, and they have been pushing me.”

Bhatt says he spent nearly a couple of years training alone on the pitch and not with the team as he knew he had a lot to cover to reach that point of potential. It is certainly rare to find such profound understanding and acquired dedication toward their sporting career by young adults these days. It is nothing but a commendable feat to possess.

When asked about his experience in Rajasthan United and the impact it had on his career, Bhatt said, “It practically was the most important season of my career because that’s what got me to where I am today. I am so grateful to Rajasthan United and the coach over there, Pushpender Kundu, who believed in me so much, gave me the chances I needed, and guided me through everything. That’s the reason I am here today! It’s one of the biggest reasons…and (I am) eternally grateful to the club and the coach.”

Mumbai is my hometown. It’s always a dream to represent your hometown,” says Hardik Bhatt, who was “overwhelmed and emotional” at the sight of the supporters of AmchiCity. However, he knows he has to live up to their expectations and “give them back” what they deserve.

Hardik Bhatt - It is overwhelming but at the same time I know what I need to do Wc9SoD63dP
The West Coast Brigade parading proudly

Since the switch, the dressing room scenario has changed drastically for the 25-year-old as he now shares the same space and pitch side as the likes of Bipin Singh, Rahul Bheke, Lallianzuala Chhangte, who all represent the Indian National Team and other senior players, Bhatt says he has a lot to learn from them and he is learning something or the other from everybody present.

In only his second season at the club, Des Buckingham‘s squad has shown immense character as they have been breaking and creating records. From a 5th place finish last season to league shield winners this season, Buckingham has been remarkable.

“The mentality that he carries, shaped the team and has shaped every individual in a way that we all have this Champions mindset. The way he gets that into the team and the players has helped me improve so much as a player on and off the pitch, and I look forward to doing that ahead.”

Mumbai City lost to Bengaluru FC in the semifinals of the ISL championship, and the player believes it has undoubtedly fueled their hunger to go out there and get more. He now believes they are much more focused and looking forward to their super cup games due this April.

Follow IFTWC for the latest updates on Indian Football.

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