Monday Oct 03, 2022

The Best Indian Footballers of All Time

The Best Indian Footballers of All Time

Few people are aware that football was once a popular sport in India; in fact, the Indian national team was quite successful in the 1950s and 1960s. The decline of football in India was due to a lack of long-term planning and the emergence of cricket, which became extremely popular and successful. 

What makes the best footballer? There is no one answer to this question as everyone has different opinions. However, some of the qualities that many people would agree make a great footballer include speed, agility, strength, skill and stamina. Of course, having a good team around you is also essential in order to be successful.

Football is becoming increasingly popular among Indians under the age of thirty. nIn this post, we look at the top ten greatest Indian football players ever produced.

The Best Indian Footballers of All Time

Sunil Chhetri

He is the greatest Indian player ever, and he is still actively playing. He is well-known among Indian football supporters, and he has served as the face of Indian football in recent times. He debuted for the youth team of Mohun Bagan—the most successful club in India—before joining Europe’s top Sporting Portugal B and the Kansas City Wizards, one of America’s top MLS clubs.

He is currently the captain of Bengaluru FC and the Indian national team. In terms of appearances and goals, he is India’s most accomplished player (115 games, 72 goals) and all-time leading scorer (72 goals).

Chhetri, popularly known as “Captain Fantastic,” is the all-time leading goalscorer in international football history, behind Cristiano Ronaldo. Chhetri has won the AIFF player of the year award six times to date, which is a record.

Bhaichung Butia

He is a retired Indian football player who is widely regarded as one of the best strikers India has ever produced. He spent the majority of his career playing for East Bengal and is the all-time leading goalscorer for the club. In 1997, he became the first Indian footballer to play professional football in Europe when he joined FC Metz in France.

In 1999, he returned to India and joined Mohun Bagan, where he won the National Football League title in his first season. He also had a brief spell with JCT Mills before retiring from professional football in 2006. Butia is the second-highest goalscorer for the Indian national team with 43 goals from 104 appearances. He was awarded the Padma Shri—the fourth highest civilian award in India—in 2008.

IM Vijayan

He is a retired Indian footballer who is widely regarded as one of the best players India has produced. He is the all-time leading goalscorer for the Kerala Blasters FC and was voted Asian Footballer of the Year in 1993. Vijayan started his career with Mohun Bagan before moving to East Bengal, where he won several trophies.

In 1997, he became the first Indian footballer to play professional football outside of India when he joined FC Metz in France. He returned to India in 1999 and had a brief spell with JCT Mills before retiring from professional football in 2006. Vijayan is the third-highest goalscorer for the Indian national team with 40 goals from 80 appearances. He was awarded the Padma Shri—the fourth highest civilian award in India—in 2007.

Abhishek Yadav

He is a retired Indian footballer who is considered one of the best midfielders India has produced. He started his career with Mohun Bagan before moving to East Bengal, where he won several trophies. In 1997, he became the first Indian footballer to play professional football outside of India when he joined FC Metz in France.

Yadav returned to India in 1999 and had a brief spell with JCT Mills before retiring from professional football in 2006. Yadav is the fourth-highest goalscorer for the Indian national team with 39 goals from 92 appearances. He was awarded the Padma Shri—the fourth highest civilian award in India—in 2007.

indian footballers

Chuni Goswami

Subimal “Chuni” Goswami was an attacking midfielder who loved to drop deep and assist with build-up plays. He starred for India at the 1960 Olympics, 1962 Asian Games (where the country won the gold medal), and 1964 AFC Asian Cup (where they took silver).

During his playing days, Goswami was offered a contract with the English club Tottenham Hotspurs but turned it down. He scored 32 goals in 50 appearances for India. He subsequently abandoned football and became a very successful cricketer.

He represented India in Test matches and was the captain of Bengal in Ranji Trophy. Goswami passed away in 2020, aged 82. 

Sailen Manna

Sailendra Nath Manna was a left-back who was famous for his set-pieces ability due to his powerful shot and free kicks. He represented India at the 1948 Olympics and helped the country to a gold medal at the 1951 Asian Games. He also captained the Indian team that took part in the first-ever Asian Cup in 1956. 

In his 20-year career, Manna made 21 appearances for India and scored four goals. He is widely regarded as one of the best players India has ever produced. He was posthumously awarded the Arjuna Award in 2002 and the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian honour, in 2011. 

Peter Thangaraj

Peter Thangaraj was a rock at the back for India during the 1960s and 1970s. He captained the side that won bronze at the 1970 Asian Games and silver at the 1972 Asian Cup. He was also a member of the Indian team that took part in the 1974 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Thangaraj began his career as a striker before switching to become a goalkeeper, a decision which eventually proved wise as he became the best goalkeeper in Indian football history.

In his 18-year career, Thangaraj made 34 appearances for India and scored one goal. He was posthumously awarded the Arjuna Award in 2002. 

Jarnail Singh

Singh was a defender who also gets played as a striker when his team needs to score. He represented India at the 1960 Olympics and the 1962 Asian Games. He was also a member of the Indian team that took part in the 1974 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. 

Jarnail Singh is best remembered for his stunning volley against France in a 1-1 draw at the 1970 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. The goal earned India a lot of respect and showed that they could compete with some of the best teams in the world.

In his 18-year career, Singh made 39 appearances for India and scored three goals. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, these are some of the best Indian footballers of all time. Each one of them has made a significant contribution to the sport in India and has helped popularize the game in the country. They have all enjoyed success at the club and international level and have inspired many young players to take up the sport. These players have also helped put India on the map in the world of football and have helped raise the profile of the sport in the country.

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