Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman Al Khalifa has spoken about the death of Indian football team's 1962 Asian Games gold medal winner Fortunato Franco's and has termed him "a true legend of the game."
Franco passed away in Goa on Monday, aged 84.
Definitely one of India's greatest ever midfielders, Franco was part of India's golden era in football between 1960 and 1964.
Salman Al Khalifa said in his letter, "I am deeply saddened to learn the passing of the former Asiad gold medalist Fortunato Franco earlier today. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones and the All India Football Federation during his sad moment."
He added, "Mr. Franco will always be remembered for his dedication and commitment to Indian football. I would appreciated if you could extend our condolences to his family and friends. May he rest in peace."
Franco was part of India's 1960 Rome Olympics squad but could not get a game. However, in 1962, he was the most important member of the Asian Games' Indian football team in Jakarta where he helped our country win the gold medal.
Franco made 26 appearances for India, including the 1964 Asian Cup where India finished as runners-up. He also formed part of the squad who won the silver and bronze medal in the 1964 and 1965 Merdeka Cup respectively.
However, his best performance came in the 1962 Asian Games where Indian football truly touched it's peak in it's golden era as they beat South Korea 2-1 in the final of the competition in Jakarta in front of 100,000 fans.