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6 football superstars who have played on Indian Soil

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3.08K   //    05 Jun 2018, 10:54 IST

Yashin was nicknamed "the Black Spider"

In recent years, India has quietly made its name as a nation with enthusiastic football fans. Fans in India come out in numbers to watch a football superstar, in awe of the superstar from a foreign country despite the fact that they very rarely see their own team and players perform at the highest level of sport.

As the 2018 FIFA World Cup is just around the corner, Indian fans are all gearing up to watch the matches with their friends and family.

With less than ten days to go for the world cup, let us revisit five instances when football superstars played on Indian soil and the country welcomed them with open arms. Most of them left their mark in the FIFA World Cup.

#6 Lev Yashin

The Soviet football star visited India in the months of February-March in the year 1955 with his national teammates. Soviet had come down to India to play a friendly football game with the host country.

Known as the “Black Spider”, it was almost impossible to score against Yashin. A year later, the same Soviet team went on to win a gold at the Melbourne Olympics.

In the three games played on Indian soil in Delhi, Bombay, and Calcutta, not a single goal was scored against Yashin. He remains the only goalkeeper in the history of the game to have received a Ballon d’Or, while coming close to winning it on three different instances, a testament to his unbelievable skills on the football pitch.

More than 30,000 people watched Yashin play at the Brabourne Stadium in Bombay - a popular cricket bastion, a statement of Yashin's popularity in a distant land.

Yashin also featured against Mohun Bagan in another encounter and yet again no one was able to get the ball past him. Yashin’s visit to Calcutta remains a massive moment for the football fanatics of the city. The legendary goalie came back to Calcutta around two decades later as a chief guest for an event.

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Saurabh is a final year student at the Department of Media Studies, Christ University, Bengaluru. A promising sports broadcaster, his insights on the game of cricket make him a known face in the realm of cricket media.
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