Indian Super League, for sponsorship reasons, has titled their Player of the Season award Hero of the League. Florent Malouda, Stiven Mendoza, Iain Hume and Sunil Chhetri have all won the coveted award in the previous seasons.
Only two of them are still playing in India, with the former two now plying their trade in Europe. The Chennaiyin attacker, in particular, has gone on to play for New York City in Major League Soccer and Amiens in Ligue 1.
The other two have become household names in Indian football.
It, indeed, is a great honour in Indian football today, and we’ll see numerous big names looking join the celebrated club.
Here are five players we expect to be in the running to win the award this season.
5. Emiliano Alfaro
Scoring 14 goals over two seasons for NorthEast United and Pune City, Emiliano Alfaro has been nothing short of exceptional in India. While he proved a solid goalscorer in a poor NorthEast side in his debut season, playing alongside free-scoring winger and one-time Golden Boot winner Marcelinho converted him into a creator; he provided three key assists last season for Pune City. He, 30, will only get even better under new manager Miguel Angel Portugal this season, with title favourites Pune signing a strong supporting cast, including India international strikers Robin Singh and Ashique Kuruniyan and top-class foreign players like Marko Stankovic and Diego Carlos.