SI.com Staff
Tuesday October 1st, 2013

Lionel Messi and Argentina played the first FIFA-recognized international friendly in India. Lionel Messi and Argentina played Venezuela in the first FIFA-recognized international friendly in India in 2011. (Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images)

The latest in The Far Post, a co-production of Roads & Kingdoms and Sports Illustrated, follows Lionel Messi's 2011 journey to India, where he was heralded as the "God of Football." Kanishk Tharoor charts the impact of Messi and international soccer on India and the growth of the game's popularity among the country's growing middle class.

As Tharoor notes, though appearances of stars like Messi on Indian fields and television screens may create a new group of consumers for the game, they risk sacrificing India's passion for its own soccer and domestic stars whose playing careers in India last longer than a cameo. The Far Post: Messi in Kolkata: The gods of football visit India

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