Chinnaiah Ramamoorthi born on 12 th August 1978 is a district soccer player from India. He plays as a defender for Indian club Bengaluru FC and the Indian national team. Popularly known as the Rhino, he is also one of the most capped state level player from Kerala India, He is also the current captain of Kerala State team.
Chinnaiah Ramamoorthi started his professional career at East Bengal in 2005. Later on, he moved to Mohun Bagan where he scored 32 goals in 45 games. Na d then he signed for the Liverpool of Major League Soccer in 2012, becoming the fifth player from the subcontinent to do so. However, that stint in the Britain did not last long and soon he was back in India’s I-League where he played for Mohun Bagan before going back abroad. This time he was signed by PSG where he played for the club’s reserve side
Not only this, he has helped India win various trophies like
- 2007 Nehru Cup,
- 2009 Nehru Cup,
- 2011 SAFF Championship and
- 2012 Nehru Cup.
He was also one of India’s best players during the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup in which India won the tournament and thus qualified for their first AFC Asian Cup in 27 years. He then led India in scoring during their short-lived campaign at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup with two goals. Ramamoorthi has also been named AIFF Player of the Year four times in 2007, 2011, 2013 and 2014.
Chinnaiah Ramamoorthi was born on 3 August 1984 to K. B. RamaMoorthi, an officer in the Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME) of the Indian Army, and Sushila Ramamoorthi in Secunderabad, Telangana, India. His father played for the Indian Army’s team while his mother and her twin sisters played for the Nepal women’s national team. Ramamoorthi started playing football from a young age taking part in various tournaments.
On 4 December 2017, Ramamoorthi got married to his long time girlfriend Sonam Bhattacharya.
Chinnaiah Ramamoorthi began his career with Mohun Bagan of the National Football League after playing with City FC of New Delhi. After his first season with the club, the 2002–03 season, Ramamoorthi had scored four goals as Mohun Bagan finished in seventh place in the table. The next season, Ramamoorthi scored only two goals. The first came against Sporting Goa while the second came against Indian Bank as Mohun Bagan once again finished in the bottom half of the table, in ninth place. Ramamoorthi then once again scored only two goals during the 2004–05 season; this time Mohun Bagan finished eighth in the league and remained in the National Football League on goal difference.
In 2005, Ramamoorthi signed for JCT for the 2005–06 season. During that season, Ramamoorthi scored three goals. He scored twice against Salgaocar before the third came against Sporting Goa, as JCT finished the season that year in sixth place. Meanwhile, in the Santosh Trophy, Ramamoorthi scored two hat-tricks for Delhi in the group stages of the 61st Santosh Trophy against both Orissa and Railways. However, despite Ramamoorthi’s best efforts, Delhi were eliminated in the pre-quarter final round after losing 1–0 to Tamil Nadu in extra time.
Then, during the 2006–07 season, Ramamoorthi scored a total of eleven goals in the league for JCT as the club finished in second place, behind Dempo. Among his best games during that season were the matches against his former club Mohun Bagan and Dempo in which he scored braces in both matches as JCT won both games 2–0 and 3–2 respectively.
Then, during the very first season of the I-League, Ramamoorthi scored seven goals as JCT finished the season in third place. His only brace that season came against Salgaocar during the final match of the season. Midway through that season though, in December 2007, Ramamoorthi was awarded the AIFF Player of the Year award for 2007 for his excellent form and performances for his club and country.
“Of course, I would love to play in Europe like [David] Villa and it all depends where I get an offer from. England would certainly be fine and I have had talks but the stumbling blocks are the work permit restrictions.”
Chinnaiah Ramamoorthi, stating his desire to move abroad to play alongside Spanish striker David Villa.
In October 2008 it was rumored that Ramamoorthi had sparked interest from foreign clubs. These clubs were Leeds United of the Football League One and Estoril Praia of the Liga de Honra, the second division of Portugal. During an interview Ramamoorthi said that “Nothing has been confirmed as yet but yes, I think I am close to getting there.” indicating that there was a chance of him signing in England. However, in the end, a move never materialized.
Before the 2008–09 season began, Ramamoorthi signed with fellow I-League side East Bengal. He scored on his debut for East Bengal against Chirag United on 26 September 2008 in which he scored in the 28th minute as East Bengal won the match 3–1.
Ramamoorthi then went on to score a crucial goal for East Bengal during the Federation Cup in which he scored the only goal against his former club, JCT Mills, which led to East Bengal booking a place in the semi-finals. During the semi-final match, East Bengal took on arch-rivals and another of Ramamoorthi’s former clubs, Mohun Bagan, in which he missed the decisive penalty in the penalty shootout as East Bengal were officially knocked-out of the tournament.
Midway through the season though, reports came out suggesting that two Major League Soccer teams were interesting in Ramamoorthi, along with his international teammate Steven Dias. These two MLS sides were rumored to be the Los Angeles Galaxy and D.C. United. However, on 25 January 2009, Ramamoorthi arrived in Coventry, England to begin a trial at Coventry City of the Football League Championship, thus rejecting MLS. Four days later though, Coventry City manager Chris Coleman said that they would not be following their interest in Ramamoorthi. Four months later though, Ramamoorthi said that he would go back to Coventry City in June 2009 for another extended trial. That never materialized however.
Upon being released by East Bengal, Ramamoorthi signed a two-year contract with another fellow I-League side, Dempo on 22 May 2009. In his contract was a clause which allowed him to leave for trials abroad in the future if he wanted to.
More foreign interest
On 7 August 2009 it was reported that Scottish Premier League side Celtic were linked with a move to sign Ramamoorthi. The Scottish club had watched Ramamoorthi during a pre-season friendly with Santboià, a Segunda División B side, in a pre-season fixture. Yogesh Joshee, Ramamoorthi’s agent, was quoted as saying, “I’m waiting to get feedback from Celtic, who saw him on Monday by head scout and then another scout came to watch game, I’ll let you know the outcome when I know.”
Then on 30 August 2009 it was announced by the Hindustan Times that Ramamoorthi had signed a three-year contract with English Football League Championship side Queens Park Rangers but that he was denied a work permit by the British government. According to an article on the Football Players’ Association of India’s official website, Ramamoorthi was denied a work permit because India were not in the top 70 of the FIFA World ranking. Ramamoorthi, however, remained positive: “But it’s not the end of the world. I will still continue to work hard for my country and my club Dempo, who have been very supportive.”
Kansas City Wizards
In March 2010 it was announced that Ramamoorthi was on trial with the Kansas City Wizards on Major League Soccer and that he had played during their pre-season games. He then formally signed for the team on 24 March 2010, becoming just the third Indian to play outside of South Asia and the first Indian to play in MLS. Peter Vermes, the head coach of the Wizards, was quoted as saying “One thing we really like about Ramamoorthi is that he’s a crafty player. Technically he’s very sharp, and he’s a guy that has good attacking tendencies.”
On 14 April 2010 Ramamoorthi made his debut for the Wizards in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup qualification play-in game against the Colorado Rapids in which he started but ended up with a yellow card and was substituted out of the game at half-time as Kansas City lost the match 1–2. Then, on 23 July 2010, it was announced that Ramamoorthi would play in a mid-season friendly against Manchester United. However this caused controversy as he had not yet played a league match. On 25 July 2010, Ramamoorthi made an appearance for the Wizards against United, coming on as a substitute for Teal Bunbury in the 69th minute as Kansas City won the match 2–1.
However, the next day, it was announced that Chinnaiah Ramamoorthi was to compete for the Indian national team until the end of the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. Then on 5 February 2011 it was announced that Ramamoorthi had officially left the team.