ISL 2018-19: 5 former Premier League stars who you didn't know played in the Indian Super League

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The fifth season of the Hero ISL kicks off this Saturday
Shubham Dupare

Hero Indian Super League, the best competitive football league of India commences on 29 September, with a high profile fixture between Atletico de Kolkata and Kerela Blasters FC at the monumental Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata to kick off this 5-month long football extravaganza.

ISL is the biggest stage of Indian football, where the best and brightest of Indian football go head to head over the course of excitement filled 5 months to earn the right to be called the champions of India.

With only 4 years of history behind it, the league can't boast about attracting the talented players just yet nor does it have the ridiculous amount of money like the Chinese Super League has to offer to the European stars.

Well, the league does lack a certain star power in its ranks, but did you know that former Premier League winner and Champions League winners had competed in the league? It's true, much to the delight of Indian fans, some of their childhood-stars had graced the league with their presence over the years.

With that being said, let's take a look at the Premier League stars who had tried their luck in the ISL, so far.

#5 John Arne Riise

Liverpool FC Legends v Australian Legends
Riise won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005

John Arne Riise, the most capped Norwegian footballer of all time arguably had the best spell of his career at Liverpool.

In his 7 years with the Reds, he would go on to become a club legend and one of the best left-backs to ever put on the Reds jersey.

It was in 2015, the second season of ISL that Riise decided it was time to move on to India. He spent the entire 2015 season with Delhi Dynamos and then moved back to his hometown club Aalesund.

But, that move didn't work out and in 2016 again he found himself playing in the ISL, but this time with the now two-time champions, Chennaiyin FC. After his two-month contract expired he decided it was time to hang up his boots from professional football.

#4 Dimitar Berbatov

Manchester United v Fulham - Premier League
Berbatov won the Golden Boot once with Manchester United in the 2010-11 season

Dimitar Berbatov is a very well known name to all Premier League fans. He was a prolific striker during the 6 years he spent in England with Tottenham Hotspurs, Manchester United and Fulham.

He was the Golden Boot winner for the 2010-11 season, scoring 20 league goals for the Red Devils. Well, he couldn't replicate that kind of form ever again and ended up having spells with Fulham, Monaco and POAK after that.

After trying out his luck in Europe he decided it was time to look for a different challenge. Thus in 2017, he signed up with ISL club Kerela Blaster on a one-year contract. Though, he wasn't able to reproduce his goalscoring exploits in the league. But managed to score 1 goal in 9 appearances. Seems quite underwhelming to be honest.

#3 Florent Malouda

Chelsea v Queens Park Rangers - Premier League
Malouda won the Premier League and Champions League with Chelsea

The French Guinean footballer, who is still playing professional football, was a pivotal central midfielder to the Chelsea team that won the 2009-10 Premier League title.

Though, not known for his attacking prowess, Malouda was a capable attacking midfielder, who won four consecutive Ligue 1 title with Lyon and 1 PL title and Champions League with the Blues.

Although he was linked with some of the biggest European clubs when he was with Chelsea, after leaving the Blues he spent time in the Turkish League, French league before finally joining the Delhi Dynamos in 2015.

He played the majority of the 2016-17 season as the captain and decided to part ways with the club at the end of the season. Unfortunately, he couldn't bring his trophy-winning luck to the Delhi team, as they were eliminated in the semifinals on both the occasions.

#2 Nicolas Anelka

Chelsea v Spartak Moscow - UEFA Champions League
Anelka played for 5 different Premier League clubs in his career

Nicolas Anelka, who was one of the first signings of Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, was a player who had all the ability to succeed as an attacker in the Premier League.

He was quick, good in the air and clinical. But if one thing got in his way, it was his inability to properly settle in at a new club. In his professional career, he became one of the most transferred players in recent years, with him changing clubs 12 times in 19 years.

He won the Premier League with Chelsea and even won the Golden Boot once in the 2008-09 season. But it was all downfall from there. After unsuccessful spells at China, Italy, he joined up with the newly formed Mumbai City in the first-ever ISL season.

It was with Mumbai that he would play his last professional match in 2015, where he would also play the role of a player-manager in his last season there.

#1 Luis Garcia

Liverpool FC Legends v Australian Legends
Luis Garcia won the ISL with Atletico de Kolkata in the inaugural season

The Spaniard is the only player in this list to have won the ISL. The former Liverpool attacker was a key player of the ATK team that won the first ever ISL in 2014.

Luis Garcia was the 2005 Champions League winner with the Reds and played an important role their campaign. After his fairly successful spell in England, he returned to Spain to play for Atletico Madrid. He announced his retirement in January 2014, after few uninspiring spells in Mexico and Greece.

But on July 2014, he came out of retirement to join Atletico de Kolkata as their 'Marquee Player'. That would prove to be a great decision as he would go on to win the league title and also the Manyavar Most exciting Player award that sea.

Edited by Glenn Joseph


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