Since emerging as the premier footballing league of the country in 2017-18 season, the Indian Super League (ISL) has offered India’s finest stars on display and expect the 2020-21 tournament to be no different.
Lighting up the ISL with their star performances the Indian recruitments have turned themselves to household names.
So before the tournament kicks off on November 20, let’s take a look at the top five Indian footballers who will captivate you this footballing season:
1. Brandon Fernandes (FC Goa)
Last season, FC Goa topped the points table during the league stages and for good reason. Along with Spaniard Edu Bedia, it was 26-year-old Brandon Fernandes who orchestrated the midfield for the Goan outfit.
The young Indian playmaker has already become a vital cog in his team’s attacking unit and grabbed 7 assists in 17 matches last season, which is the highest for the season amongst Indians.
However, Fernandes doesn’t shy away from defensive duties and his tally of 79 tackles in the 2019-20 season is a testament for the same.
2. Sandesh Jhingan (ATK Mohun Bagan)
Without an iota of doubt, Jhingan has been India’s best centre-back for some years now. The 27-year-old was a mainstay in the Kerala Blasters’ backline before moving to ATK Mohun Bagan this season.
His addition is a huge bonus for the ‘Green and Maroon’ outfit. In his 76 ISL matches, the Chandigarh-born has run into 194 crunching challenges and most surprisingly, has never been red-carded. The centre-back is also an aerial threat and tuck in valuable headers.
However, Jhingan missed the entirety of last season owing to an Anterior Cruciate Ligament tear so we’ll have wait and see if he can hit the mark from the get-go.
3. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Bengaluru FC)
If Jhingan has been India’s best centre-back then complimenting him, Sandhu has transpired into one of the finest glovemen for ‘the blue tigers’.
In 2016, he also became the only Indian to play in the coveted UEFA Europe League.
For two seasons straight the 28-year-old has conquered the Golden Gloves award in the ISL. In his 58 matches, Sandhu has stacked up 25 clean sheets with an astounding save percentage of 75.96%.
4. Anirudh Thapa (Chennaiyin FC)
He is a central midfielder. Just 22. Last season, Anirudh Thapa was the brightest star in that Chennaiyin midfield. He was all over the pitch, knitting attacks, breakdown opposition moves and racing down the pitch to carry the ball forward.
In just 20 matches, Thapa racked up 54 interceptions, the highest in the league. The Dehradun-born is also the 7th highest (991 passes) on the table for passes made last season.
His development will not only excite the fans of the Chennai franchise but will also keep the Team India faithful glued.
5. Sunil Chhetri (Bengaluru FC)
There’s no name that deserves to be on the list more than his. The skipper of the Indian football team, a legend of the game and even at 36 a lethal striker of the ball, Sunil Chhetri is the best Indian footballer and an asset to any team he plies his trade for.
Luckily for Bengaluru FC, they roped him nice and early and he has been vital to their success. Unsurprisingly, Chhetri is the highest goal-scorer amongst Indians and second-highest all-time in the ISL with 39 goals from 74 matches.
Last season, Chhetri struck the back of the net nine times in 17 outings. Yet, Bengaluru has been struggling for goals upfront from other sources. If Chhetri can form a formidable duo with new signing Kristian Opseth then Bangalore fans can surely be in for a treat.