For football fans, especially in Kerala where the game is almost a religion, Thomas Tuchel needs no introduction.
The former Chelsea FC manager won the UEFA champions league with the club in 2021. He was also the manager when Paris Saint German (PSG) reached the tournament’s final in 2020.
Which is why, when Tuchel landed at Kochi airport on Wednesday, 12 October, he was immediately identified by numerous fans who took selfies with him and posted them on social media.
The videos and images quickly went viral as Chelsea fans celebrated his visit to the state.
A Facebook fan page called Chelsea Fans Kerala put up a post saying: “Our fellow blues meeting Thomas Tuchel at Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL). Kerala welcomes you.”
Tuchel visit sparks rumours
It did not take long for social media to speculate on his visit, with some members of the Kerala Blasters FC fan club, the Manjappada, linking Tuchel’s arrival to an assignment with KBFC.
Tagging Manjappada, football fan Amal Gopi tweeted: “Why don’t we invite Tuchel to a #KBFC match. He has arrived in Kochi and it’s said that he will be here for two weeks.”
Linking the name of the present Kerala Blasters coach Ivan Vukomanoc, Shyam Sudhakar a journalist with ESPN India tweeted “Thomas Tuchel Ivan Vukomanovic Make it happen @KeralaBlasters!”
An account named Frank Khalid tweeted: “Thomas Tuchel was spotted in India. Wish him the best for the future.
Thomas Tuchel ? Ivan Vukomanovic
Make it happen @KeralaBlasters!
— Shyam Vasudevan (@JesuisShyam) October 12, 2022
‘Welcome home,’ says Kerala Tourism
Not wanting to miss out on the buzz created by Tuchel’s arrival, Kerala Tourism also took to social media.
In a post on its official Facebook page, Kerala Tourism wrote: “Bundesliga, EPL & now Kerala. We in Kerala are as mad about football as you, Tuchel. So welcome home. May we present the relaxing backwaters of Alappuzha and the hills of Munnar to cool your heels and mind before you head home.”
The post, which spoke about the passion for football among the people of Kerala, also showcased images of the backwaters of Alappuzha and the hills of Munnar.
So why is Tuchel in Kerala?
In 2021, Onmanorama wrote a piece about Vinay P Menon, who hails from Cherai in Ernakulam district and moved to London in 2008.
Since 2008, Menon has been working with the Blues as their wellness consultant and mind strategist.
The speculation is that Tuchel is in Kerala for some kind of Ayurvedic therapy on Menon’s recommendation.
Chelsea pushed Thomas Tuchel that down bad that he had to take a trip to Kerala for Ayurvedic Massage, Medicine and Therapy. ?
— Sayak Dipta Dey (@sayakdd28) October 12, 2022