Europe is the toast of the footballing world; the continent houses the world’s best players and is the dream destination for almost the entire population in the footballing sphere. From players and trainers to brands and businesses, European football is the dreamland, something which is true for India as well.
Ranked 101st in the world, India doesn’t have a top-level footballing culture, but now and again, the country is treated to news about Indian-origin players making it big in European football.
Also read: Best current Indian-origin XI
Since things are on the up for Indian football — the Indian national team goalkeeper, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, plays in the Norwegian top flight for Stabaek — let’s take a look at five Indian-origin footballers who have attracted the attentions of top European clubs until now.
#1 Rhys Williams – Liverpool
Rhys Williams’s mother hails from Mumbai, hence he was eligible to represent India at international level but the utility man chose Australia, the country of his birth, instead.
The 28-year-old came through the ranks at Middlesbrough and went on to lead the Teessiders in his 11-year association with them. It was during his time at Middlesbrough that Williams was linked with five-time European champions, Liverpool. In January 2012, Liverpool had informal discussions with Williams’ management, according to the Australian Daily Telegraph, but nothing materialised in the end.
Liverpool have had their fair share of Australian imports including Craig Johnstone, Brad Jones and Harry Kewell, but had Williams been signed by Liverpool, it would have been a proud moment for Indians and Indian football as well.