For Dharmaraj Ravanan, football is everything. And that was the reason behind him leaving a cozy bank job with Indian Bank in 2004 to play this beautiful game full time — a stark contrast to the many players who play the sport in the big league to secure a job.

FC Pune City defender Dharamraj Ravanan. Pic/Shashank Sane
FC Pune City defender Dharamraj Ravanan. Pic/Shashank Sane 

Since then, the boy from Tiruchirappalli has become a household name in football.

"I am sure anybody can achieve any milestone if they do what they want to do with a set goal. I have done that and have started my journey for more success," said Ravanan, who plays for FC Pune City in the inaugural edition of the Indian Super League (ISL).

"Yes, it is hard to believe but it is true, one has to do the things he wants, and that was the reason I left a cozy bank job to play the game full time," said Ravanan while talking to midday in Pune yesterday.

It was Armando Colaco, the Dempo coach, who spotted his talent while the Tamil Nadu native, then just 19 years of age, was playing for Chennai's Indian Bank in a Bangalore tournament. But it was under the watchful eyes of Derrick Pereira, the then Mahindra United (2006) coach, that he bloomed into a defender known for his clean tackling.

Not many know that Ravanan has just earned six warnings in his nine-year long professional football career. "Football is a contact sport, but one can be aggressive in a clean manner," he said.

He also played for I-League clubs like Mohun Bagan and Churchill Brothers. "Playing the game along side Bhaichung Bhutia and Clifford Miranda, to name a few, I have gained a lot of experience. But I have much more to learn, and this ISL is an opportunity for players like me to learn more about the game," said Ravanan.

"Football has given me everything, and now I want to give back to the game," said the defender, who has played in all three games that the Pune franchise have played in the ISL so far.