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Many players have flourished within the I-League and the ISL. Some have broken into Europe while others became superstars within their home country. India has seen many football prodigies over the years but these few players flourished, thus earning their titles of India’s all-time best footballers.
Baichung Bhutia
This striker was the face of India football in his prime. He is “undeniably one of the most famous football players of India.” Earning himself the nickname of “Sikkimese Sniper”, Bhutia was known for his ability to finish his shots on goal with power and finesse. Although he has since retired, Baichung made his mark by becoming the first Indian football player to sign a contract with a European team. Having played in over 100 matches for the Indian national team, Bhutia was the country’s youngest ever goal scorer. Due to his many achievements in Indian and worldwide football, Bhutia will receive praise from his country for many years to come.
Sunil Chhetri
This current Indian football star has been turning heads in the league since he broke onto the scene at the age of 18. The now 32-year-old striker has so far scored almost 100 goals during his career. He had a brief career with USA based football club, Kansas City Wizards. Inevitably discovered his talents were better suited in his home country. Sunil has helped his various teams accomplish many achievements including winning the Nehru Cup, the AFC Challenge Cup, and the SAFF Championship. With multiple I-League wins, he rightfully earned the Hero of the I-League this season.
Sailen Manna
Players who are typically highlighted for their abilities on the field hold offensive roles. Manna is one of the few Indian footballers who earned his recognition in a defensive position. In the early 20th century, Sailen captained the Indian national team in many hearty competitions such as the Olympic and Asian Games. His career lasted almost 20 years, an astonishing length for any player to accomplish. Although he passed in 2012, many Indian footballers look to his skills to model their own playing styles after.