It was the British soldiers who introduced the beautiful game to India in the 19th century. Nowadays, Indian football has grown from unassuming beginnings to a super football giant in the 21st century that features splendid Indian football players.
The Indian Super League (ISL) was established on 12 October 2014. The oldest club currently playing in the ISL is ATK Mohun Bagan FC, founded in 1889. The second oldest club featuring in the ISL, East Bengal FC, was established in 1920. Currently, the ISL champions are Hyderabad FC. Continue reading as we explore more about the 10 best Indian football players in the ISL.
- Sunil Chhetri
Sunil Chhetri plays for Bengaluru as well as the Indian national football team. He’s also the captain of both teams. Sunil Chhetri stats include scoring a total of 51 goals in 114 matches. He made his debut back in 2015 when he first played for Mumbai City FC.
Known as the colossus of Indian football, he made a significant impact back in the 2017-2018 season, when he scored 14 goals for Bengaluru FC. After winning the AIFF Player of the Year trophy in 2017, he led his team to victory in the 2018-2019 season. During the 2021-2022 season, Sunil Chhetri stats included his accuracy pass success rate at rather impressive 74.57%
- Subrata Paul
Goalkeeper Subrata Paul made his debut appearance in the ISL in 2014 when he played for Mumbai City FC. Subrata Paul stats include saving 271 shots while playing 95 matches in his ISL career.
After staying for two seasons with the club, he moved to NorthEast United FC in 2016. In the 2017-2018 season, Subrata Paul stats consisted of him being awarded the Golden Glove award for his phenomenal performances between the sticks when he kept seven clean sheets in 18 games. In the 2020-2021 season, he kept two clean sheets for Hyderabad FC in the ISL 2020-2021 before later moving to SC East Bengal.
- Jeje Lalpekhlua
Since the inception of the ISL, Jeje Lalpekhlua has been a stalwart forward player and principal goal scorer of Chennaiyin FC. Jeje Lalpekhlua stats show he has scored 24 goals in 74 matches in his ISL career to date.
Jeje Lalpekhlua stats was his team’s top goal scorer during his team’s 2017-2018 campaign. Chennaiyin FC won their second championship when he scored nine goals. Unfortunately, injuries affected his scoring and playing abilities during the 2018-2019 season. Injuries continued to negatively affect him during the 2020-2021 season when he could only feature in seven games and scored one goal.
- Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is considered one of the best goalkeepers in the ISL. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu stats include him winning the Golden Glove in the 2018-2019 season and the 2019-2020 season.
He started his professional football career playing for East Bengal FC in the I-League from 2012 to 2014. He became the first Indian to play a game in the UEFA European League when he played for Stabaek Football. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu stats are impressive, as he made 249 saves in 92 matches playing in the ISL.
- Sandesh Jhingan
Sandesh Jhingan plays as a defender for ATK Mohun Bagan FC. He started his ISL career playing for Kerala Blasters FC in 2014. Sandesh Jhingan stats prove how good he is at defending his goal, with 651 clearances and 150 blocks during his 107 matches.
In 2014 he was awarded the title of the most emerging player of the ISL. He obtained two runner-up medals in 2014 and 2016, playing for Kerala Blasters FC. He unfortunately suffered injuries during the 2018-2019 season and did not play to his full potential as a result. He signed a five-year contract with ATK Mohun Bagan FC in 2020. Sandesh Jhingan will play the remainder of the 2021-2022 season for ATK Mohun Bagan FC, featuring in nine games.
- Pritam Kotal
Primal Kotal stats show that this defender has played 119 matches for the ISL during his professional football career. His debut appearance in the ISL was when he played for FC Pune City in 2014.
In 2017-2018 he moved to Delhi Dynamos FC and captained the team during the season. He played mostly centre-back for the ATK Mohun Bagan FC when he was transferred back to the team in the 2019-2020 ISL season. The team won their third trophy during that year. Primal Kotal stats of that season include him completing 71 tackles, 34 interceptions, 149 clearances, and 36 blocks.
- Rowllin Borges
Rowlin Borges is a midfielder that plays for Mumbai City FC. He signed a three-year extension contract with the football club in 2021. Rowlin Borges stats indicate he is a solid defender with exceptional talents. In his ISL career, which started in 2016, he has played 87 matches. His total defensive play totals 320 tackles, 184 interceptions, 160 clearances, and 88 blocks.
He started his professional ISL career in 2016 when he played for NorthEast United FC. In 2018-2019 he successfully assisted the team in reaching the semi-finals. When he moved to Mumbai City FC in the 2019-2020 season, he featured in 15 games scoring four goals.
- Anwar Ali
Anwar Ali was first noticed and signed by Mumbai City FC in 2017-2018 while he played for the Indian Arrows in the I-League. His international professional football career includes playing for the India FIFA U-17 at the World Cup 2017 and playing for the India U-20 team at the Cortif Cup in 2018.
Anwar Ali stats: most promising defensive player of the ISL before he was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, effectively ending his professional football career for a while. He was back in full force in January 2022, where he has played 10 matches for FC Goa. Even after time off, he still showed an astonishingly accurate pass rate of 80.07%.
- Francis Fernandes
Francis Fernandes was a midfielder who played in the ISL from 2014 to the 2018-2019 season. He first featured for Delhi Dynamos FC in 2014, playing 11 games for the team during the season.
Francis Fernandes stats show he played 50 games in the ISL, where he scored one goal and assisted four goals. His best season was in the 2017-2018 season when he played for Chennaiyin FC, where he appeared in 17 matches and scored one goal. Francis Fernandes stats reveal he completed 17 blocks and six major tackles during his time at the club.
- Robin Singh
Robin Singh learnt his extensive footballing skills from the Tata Football Academy. He was spotted by East Bengal FC and Bengaluru FC while playing for the I-League. However, he decided to sign up with Delhi Dynamos FC in 2015.
The forward played 14 games and scored four goals for Delhi Dynamos FC during the 2015 campaign. He zthen moved to FC Goa in 2015-2016. Later in 2017-2018, he made another transfer to link up with ATKMohun Bagan FC. Robin Singh’s stats in 2018-2019 was his most monumental when he played for FC Pune City. He made 16 appearances, scoring 4 goals.
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