EA gave its Indian FIFA enthusiasts a reason to celebrate a couple of days ago, when they announced that the Indian Super League will most likely be a part of the competitive leagues in the next instalment of the game, FIFA 18. This announcement came after a fan vote was set to determine the top three most desired leagues which should be included in FIFA 18.
The Indian Super League, due to its growing popularity finished second in the poll. The reason for the ISL’s popularity in India is the quality of football it provides viewers by bringing in top-notch, experienced talent from abroad.
In its few years as an elite league, the ISL has been graced by a number of midfield stalwarts like Robert Pires, Luis Garcia and Elano Blumer, to name a few. While some of these players may have moved on, the quality in the ISL has only become better.
We predict who we think will be the highest rated ISL midfielders in FIFA 18.
#5 Lalrindika Ralte – 64 overall predicted rating
One of India’s most talented attacking midfielders, Ralte is also the highest rated attacking midfielder in the Indian squad on FIFA 17 with an overall rating of 64. The 23-year-old's impressive performances earned him a call-up to the national side in 2011.
Ralte made his ISL debut in 2014 with Mumbai City in a season where he scored once and provided two assists in 14 appearances. He transferred to the Kolkata-based outfit for the 2016 season and managed score twice and conjure four assists in 13 appearances.
Dika, as he is affectionately known, was rated at 64 in FIFA 17 and should continue to be rated at a similar level for Atletico de Kolkata come FIFA 18.
#4 Katsumi Yusa – 65 overall predicted rating
The Japanese attacking midfielder has been an integral part of the Mohun Bagan attack for close to four seasons. He has established himself as one of the best attacking midfielders in the I-League as well as the ISL.
Katsumi signed for ISL team NorthEast United on loan from Mohun Bagan and made a difference on debut, scoring the lone goal in a 1-0 win over Kerala Blasters. The Japanese playmaker has not appeared on a FIFA instalment before, the next edition will be his debut in the series.
While there is no prior rating to refer to in the case of Katsumi Yusa, his FIFA debut is likely to be one where he is one of the best players in the league. Expect a rating of around 65 for the Japanese playmaker.
#3 Borja Fernandez – 68 overall predicted rating
A defensive midfielder who plays in the base of midfield, Borja Fernandez is Atletico de Kolkata’s anchorman from midfield. The 36-year-old earned the honour of being the first player to be signed in the ISL when he signed for Atletico de Kolkata in 2014.
Borja started his career at the Real Madrid academy and made his breakthrough in 2003, which was unfortunately during the Galactico era. He could not cement a place in the starting line-up and soon made his way to Real Valladolid, Getafe and Deportivo La Coruna, before signing for Atletico de Kolkata.
Given a rating of 70 while being contracted to Almeria for 6 months, a rating of 68 can be expected for the midfielder in FIFA 18.
#2 Mohamed Sissoko – 70 overall predicted rating
The Mali international is another defensive midfielder who played in high-profile team and is currently on the roster of FC Pune City in the ISL. A physically imposing ball winner, he earned the nickname La Piovra (The Octopus) at Juventus due to his ball-winning ability.
An illustrious career has seen Sissoko play and win titles at Valencia, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain, and also turn out for Italian giants, Juventus.
Sissoko became an effective enforcer in Antonio Habas’ Pune City midfield with him receiving three yellow cards and committing 18 fouls throughout the short ISL season. Known for his powerful shot, he also scored two goals, including one from the edge of the box in a seven-goal thriller versus Delhi Dynamos.
Rated at 73 in FIFA 17, in the next instalment of FIFA, we can expect a rating of 70 or so for the former La Liga and Ligue 1 winner.
#1 Florent Malouda – 73 overall predicted rating
Florent Malouda may now be a footballing senior citizen at the ripe old age of 36, but he remains one of the best midfielders to have played in the ISL. The former France international played in two European Championships as well as a couple of FIFA World Cups, even reaching the final in 2006.
The Frenchman was also part of dominant Chelsea team which won the Champions League in 2012.
The former Chelsea player was signed for the Roberto Carlos-managed Delhi Dynamos in August 2015 as their marquee player. He won the Hero of the Championship award in the 2016 season of the ISL for his dominating displays in the Dynamos’ attack with three goals and five assists.
Thanks to Malouda’s contributions, the Delhi side also scored the most goals and had the most shots on target, making them the best attacking team in the league.
The attacking midfielder’s last rating on FIFA was 77 back in FIFA 15, where he was in Ligue 1 side, Lyon. Malouda is expected to be by far the best player on ISL roster in the next instalment of FIFA as his quality persists in spite of his advancing years. Expect him to be rated somewhere around 73 or 74 in FIFA 18.