Mumbai City’s Darren O’Dea believes that his nomadic club career in recent seasons may have been prompted by a desire to recreate the highs he experienced after realising his boyhood dream of playing for Celtic.
O’Dea, who made 70 appearances for Celtic between 2006 and 2012, has spent spells with Toronto FC in Canada, Metalurh Donetsk in Ukraine and Blackpool in England since leaving Parkhead.
The Republic of Ireland defender has now put pen to paper with Indian Super League side Mumbai City.
The 28-year-old who will play under player-manager Nicolas Anelka, told RTÉ Sport: “Last December, just before I signed with Blackpool, I had the offer to go to Mumbai City.
“It was something that I thought about, but I decided in the end to stay in Britain to play with Blackpool.
“The minute I became a free agent again, they were straight on the phone. I sat on the offer for two or three months, spoke to English, Scottish and European teams, and in the end I just came to the decision with my family to give it a go.
“The league starts in the first week in October.
“I believe we’ll do a few weeks pre-season abroad, whether that’s in Europe, or possibly in the US, and then we’ll have a few weeks in India as well.”
“I’m kind of chasing the buzz I had with Celtic"
On his readiness to ply his career on a truly international stage, O’Dea said: “I’ve shown that I’m willing to go abroad. I’m quite keen to see other countries and different cultures.
“The main thing with me is that when I was a young boy, growing up, I always wanted to play with Celtic. I wanted to be a Celtic player. I was lucky enough to live the dream out and I played at a fantastic time there.
“But when I left Celtic, I’ve never felt the buzz – at Toronto, maybe I did, nearly, because I loved the club – but I’ve never felt the buzz I felt at Celtic.
"I kind of feel that’s how I’ve ended up looking at these different opportunities in Ukraine, in Canada with Toronto and now with Mumbai in India. I’m kind of chasing the buzz I had with Celtic.
“I don’t think I’ll ever get what I had at Celtic, but I love seeing new parts of the world, different cultures, different ways people go about their business.”
O’Dea, who will live with his colleagues in a team hotel during a compact season that concludes at the end of December, added: “It was something that excited me. The stuff that I was getting offered in England didn’t. That’s why I left to go to Toronto three years ago and that’s why I've left again.
“I don’t like to go through the motions in life or in football, and if something doesn't excite me I find it hard to get motivated for it.
"I was lucky enough playing with Celtic, I never had the problem of motivation or excitement because it was there every day, but once I left I've searched for it and going abroad gives me that buzz.”