The Indian Super League (ISL) was launched in 2014 and the kind of quality that ISL football has displayed over the years has definitely helped in elevating the standard of the sport in the country. From the very onset, ISL has seen a number of high-profile players making their way to India to represent the different franchises and enthralling one and all with their class.
Over the years, ISL football has seen foreign stars entering the Indian soil and leaving an indelible mark through their journey. Here we take a look at the top overseas products, in no particular order, to have played in the ISL over the years.
FERRAN COROMINAS (SPAIN)
FC Goa’s poacher Corominas or Coro, as he is fondly called, has helped the league grow leaps and bounds. By playing against world-class strikers like Coro, Indian defenders are destined to become better at their trade. Coro has been around in ISL football since 2017 and has emerged as the Golden Boot winner in both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons. With a mammoth 48 goals in 57 matches, he is currently ISL’s all-time top goal-scorer.
STIVEN MENDOZA (COLOMBIA)
A complete fan favourite, Stiven Mendoza was the highest goalscorer in the 2015 season and helped Chennaiyin FC lift their first-ever ISL trophy. He was the standout player in that particular season and went onto to score the all-important winner in the dying minute of the final to clinch the coveted title for his club. In 25 ISL matches, Mendoza has found the back of the net 17 times. Subsequently, he was rewarded with a national call up for Colombia last year.
Elano will always be fondly remembered by ISL football fans and finds a place in the annals of the league’s history as the first-ever Golden Boot winner. A marquee player for Chennaiyin FC, he spent two seasons at the club in 2014 and 2015. In his second year, he led Chennaiyin from the front and went on to lift the club’s first-ever ISL trophy. He has found the back of the net 12 times in his 26 ISL appearances.
ISL’s third-highest goalscorer, Marcelinho is now a veteran in Indian football. He holds the record for the most number of assists (18) in the history of the competition. He made his ISL football debut in 2016 with Delhi Dynamos FC and has gone on to represent FC Pune City and Hyderabad FC in subsequent years. Although Hyderabad suffered a disappointing debut season in 2019-20, Marcelinho’s quality was unquestionable. We are sure he will come back stronger next season.
In 32 ISL matches, Miku scored 20 times for Bengaluru FC. His impact on the team was unparalleled in the 2018-19 season and helped Bengaluru lift their first-ever ISL trophy. He left post that successful season in what remains a big loss for both the club and ISL football. His absence hurt Bengaluru’s attacking instincts in the previous season, and they are still in the lookout for a suitable replacement to the Spaniard. With 20 goals, Miku stands seventh on the all-time highest goalscorer list.
HUGO BOUMOUS (FRANCE)
Since his arrival at Goa in the 2017-18 season, Hugo Boumous has slowly emerged as arguably the best foreign player in the league. Last season, Hugo went on to register 11 goals and 10 assists, becoming the first player to achieve this feat in a single campaign. FC Goa became the first club to clinch the ISL League Winners’ Shield in 2019-20 and a major part of the success goes to Boumous for his contribution. He is second on the all-time top assists leaderboard and at just 24 years of age, we can only expect that the best years of his career are still waiting to be unleashed.
IAIN HUME (CANADA)
Iain Hume is an ISL veteran, having represented ATK FC, Kerala Blasters FC and FC Pune City during his five-year stint in the league. With 28 goals across his five seasons, he stands as the fourth-highest goalscorer of all time. The Canadian was a prominent part in ATK FC’s 2015 winning campaign, where he emerged as the best player of the league in that particular season.
BARTHOLOMEW OGBECHE (FRANCE)
Bartholomew Ogbeche is a product of Paris Saint Germain’s youth academy. He has played for influential Spanish clubs like Deportivo Alavés and Valladolid in the past before making his way to India to represent NorthEast United FC in 2018-19 and Kerala Blasters FC in the next season. He’s an absolute goal machine and solid leader on the field, who is admired by all fans across the league. In just 34 matches, he has scored 27 times and currently sits fifth in the all-time highest goalscorer list.
VISIT OUR BLOG TO GET YOUR FIX FOR ALL OF THE MOST CURRENT FOOTBALL NEWS STORIES & FEATURES