The first couple of years of the Indian Super League were wild to say the least. The competition’s organisers planned on making the league similar to the wildly successful Indian Premier League cricket tournament, and they certainly put their hands in their pockets to try and achieve such a feat. The league is still running today, and with websites such as oddschecker you can compare ISL odds and free offers on all upcoming matches.
The Indian Super League has had some huge names from the world of football playing in it since its inception in 2014. From international superstars to Indian legends, several renowned footballers have graced the Indian pitch. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest names to have played in the ISL and what they achieved while playing in the league.
The Uruguayan legend and former Manchester United forward, Diego Forlan, played for Mumbai City FC in the ISL. During his time at the club, he made 12 appearances and scored five goals. He also helped the team reach the semi-finals of the ISL in 2015.
The former Atletico Madrid star was in the twilight years of his career when he came to India, but he showed glimpses of the incredible talent that led him to a World Cup semifinal – a tournament in which he was awarded the Golden Ball – and UEFA Europa League win five years prior.
Alessandro Del Piero
The Italian World Cup winner, Del Piero, joined the Delhi Dynamos in 2014. He went on to make ten appearances for the team and scored just one goal. During his time at the club, the team managed to reach the semi-finals of the ISL.
Del Piero was famously a one-club man throughout his career. He spent just shy of two decades in Turin with Juventus, racking up 290 goals in 705 appearances, before winding down his career with Sydney FC in the Australian A-League in his latter years. The former Padova youth product will go down in history as one of the finest players Italy has ever produced.
Another World Cup winner, Robert Pires, joined FC Goa in 2014. He made eight appearances for the club and scored one goal. He managed to help the team reach the semi-finals of the ISL in 2015.
Pires won pretty much everything there was to win throughout his career. He twice won the Premier League with Arsenal, as well as picking up two FA Cups during his six years with The Gunners. He also helped the North London club reach the 2006 UEFA Champions League final, which he, unfortunately, lost, courtesy of some late heroics from Barcelona.
Ex-Chelsea striker, Nicolas Anelka, made a move to Mumbai City FC in 2014. He made 13 appearances for the team and scored 2 goals. The Frenchman was coming off a controversial exit from West Bromwich Albion prior to his move to India, with the club releasing him prematurely from his contract.
The former Real Madrid, Arsenal, and Liverpool star was no stranger to controversy throughout his career, famously being ousted from France’s 2010 World Cup camp following a bust-up with then-manager Raymond Domenech.
Most Successful Franchise
If we talk about trophies won by the above-mentioned players, none of them managed to win any in the ISL. The most successful team in the ISL has been the ATK (formerly Atlético de Kolkata), who have won on three occasions. Their most recent success came in 2020 when goals from Edu Garcia and a Javi Hernández brace secured a 3-1 victory over Chennaiyin.
So, there you have it – some of the biggest names to have ever played in the Indian Super League. From Diego Forlan to Nicolas Anelka, all of these players have contributed a great deal to the success of the league. Who knows, maybe the next world-class player will play in the ISL in the near future.