9 FIFA World Cup winners who have played in the Indian Super League
The Indian football witnessed the birth of something phenomenal in the year 2014- the Indian Super League.
It attracted the eyes of the global audience towards India in its very first season. Fans thronged the Stadiums to support their favorite teams as it created a 'Football wave' across India with the chants of 'Come on, India. Let's Football!' echoing everywhere. It was a sight never seen before in the Indian Football.
Several star players of the beautiful game descended on India to ply their trade in the new league.
Now, after four seasons it stands tall as one of the most watched football league on earth. The success of the league is mainly attributed to the players and the quality of football on display.
Let us now look at nine former FIFA World Cup winners who have played in the Indian Super League.
#9 Carlos Marchena (Spain, Kerala Blasters)
The former Spanish Centre back who also played as a defensive midfielder won 69 International caps for the La Roja from 2002-2011.
Marchena, who played for several Spanish clubs in his career, also represented Spain Under 20, 21 and 23 sides.
He started his career with Sevilla in 1997, before moving to the Portuguese club Benfica, three years later. Marchena went on to represent three other Spanish clubs in his career (Valencia, Villareal and Deportivo La Coruna), after his one year stint with the Portuguese giants.
During his successful ten year stay at Valencia (2001-2010), he won two La Liga, one Copa del Rey, one UEFA Cup and a UEFA Super Cup title.
The 1999 FIFA Under 20 World Cup winner, won the Silver medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics with the Spanish U23 side at Sydney.
Marchena was named in the 2008 UEFA Euro Team of the tournament, when the Spanish side won by defeating Germany 1-0 in the finals at Vienna.
After finishing third with Spain at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, Marchena was named in the Spanish squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, where he featured in three games- against Portugal (Round of 16), Paraguay (Quarterfinals) and Germany (Semi-finals).
Spain went on to win the FIFA World Cup for the very first time, defeating the Netherlands 1-0 in the finals at Johannesburg.
After his stint with Deportivo, he was signed by the Indian Super League side, Kerala Blasters as their marquee player in August 2015 prior to the second season of the ISL.
He played just one game for the Blasters in their 0-1 home defeat against the Delhi Dynamos in October 2015 and left the league two weeks later due to personal reasons. That turned out to be the only game in his ISL career.