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ISL 2018-19: 5 foreigners who have flopped after shifting clubs

Kalu Uche is one among the foreigners who changed clubs ahead of the 2018-19 ISL season
Kalu Uche is one among the foreigners who changed clubs ahead of the 2018-19 ISL season
Abhishek Arora

More than half the matches of the league stage of ISL 2018-19 are done and dusted with. Bengaluru FC are the only team which is unbeaten after playing 10 matches. Meanwhile, Delhi Dynamos are the only team which is yet to grab the full three points from a single game.

A big chunk of the failure or success of any ISL club can be attributed to how their foreign players are performing. The imports are the ones who create the maximum impact on the team.

For example -- Ferran Corominas has been finding the back of the net regularly for FC Goa; Bartholomew Ogbeche has been sensational for NorthEast United and made a huge impact on the club. The Nigerian player is one of the main reasons why the club is sitting in the top 3 currently.

The Brazilian Raphael Augusto has been excellent in the midfield for Chennaiyin FC. Moroccan midfielder Ahmed Jahouh has also been splendid for The Gaurs. There are many other such foreign players that have been phenomenal for their respective clubs.

However, there is also a bunch of foreign players who, despite having prior experience of playing in the ISL, have failed miserably. These players made a switch to another club ahead of the start of the season but were not able to settle in as well as they - and the club they signed for - would have liked.

In this article, we assess the performance of 5 foreigners were exceptional for the clubs they played for in the previous season but have been major flops for their new clubs this time around. Without further ado, let's get started. Here are the 5 players:


#5 Rene Mihelic (Chennaiyin FC to Delhi Dynamos)

Rene Mihelic in action for Delhi Dynamos
Rene Mihelic in action for Delhi Dynamos

Slovenian midfielder Rene Mihelic first travelled to Indian shores for ISL 2017-18. The 30-year-old was a part of Chennaiyin FC in the previous season and had a major impact in the club. He settled in well with the Marina Machans. In the 14 games he played for the Chennai-based club, Rene scored 2 goals but more importantly had 4 assists to his name.

Rene played his role of acting as the pivot in the midfield to perfection and created many good scoring opportunities for the Marina Machans. His contribution was vital on their road to lifting the trophy last season.

He had a great understanding with Jeje Lalpekhlua as well. However, Rene has suffered to get things going since his move to Delhi Dynamos for the 2018-19 ISL season. The Slovenian has struggled with The Lions.

Even though he has got a lot of game time, the 30-year-old has failed to make a positive impact. The midfielder has only two assist in 10 games and will also be disappointed with his poor passing accuracy of 59.94%.

Delhi and Chennai are currently placed at the 10th and 9th position in the ISL table currently. Maybe it would have been better for both the clubs and Rene as well had he decided to not make the switch in the first place.

#4 Matias Mirabaje (Delhi Dynamos to Mumbai City)

Matias Mirabaje in action for Delhi last season
Matias Mirabaje in action for Delhi last season

Matias Mirabaje was just brilliant for Delhi Dynamos in his debut ISL season. He instantly caught the eye of spectators for his splendid display in the midfield.

The Uruguayan featured in 12 games for the Dynamos, scored 3 goals and also had an assist to his name. The 29-year-old also had a brilliant passing accuracy of 77.61% and also contributed a lot defensively. He was a terrific find for the Lions.

However, Mirabaje made a switch to Mumbai City FC before the start of the current season. The attacking midfielder has only featured in 7 of their games and used majorly as a 2nd half substitute.

Even though The Islanders are doing well and are on the 2nd position in the ISL table after winning 6 and drawing 3 of the 11 matches they have played, much cannot be said about Mirabaje' role in the team's good performance.

Mirabaje has 0 goals and 0 assists to his name till now -- not the statistics any number 10 will be proud of seeing. Another huge flop of the ISL 2018-19.

#3 Marcos Tebar (FC Pune City to Delhi Dynamos)

Marcos Tebar
Marcos Tebar

Marcos Tebar was with FC Pune City during the last season and made a switch to Delhi this time around. He formed a formidable partnership with Marcelinho and Emiliano Alfaro in Pune. The combination of these three players helped The Stallions finish 4th on the table last time around.

The Spaniard was extremely effective for Pune but has not had the same impact for the Delhi-based franchise of ISL. He was, incidentally, named the captain for Delhi Dynamos in their game against Jamshedpur FC.

The 32-year-old featured in 17 matches for Pune City and made a massive contribution to the team. One goal, 2 assists, 81.72 per cent passing accuracy, 44 tackles, 24 interceptions, 24 clearances, and 18 blocks -- these are his stats from last season and they speak for themselves. Tebar really enjoyed a fruitful season with The Stallions.

Marcus' reunion with Delhi has not panned out as he would have liked. His understanding with Delhi's forward Andrija Kaludjerovic and Rene Mihelic is not even close to what it was with FC Pune City's Marcelinho and Alfaro. Overall, he has failed to make an impact and no wonder Delhi Dynamos are at the bottom of the table.

#2 Martin Diaz (NorthEast United to FC Pune City)

Martin Diaz in action for NorthEast United FC last season
Martin Diaz in action for NorthEast United FC last season

Martin Diaz was one of the best performing centre-backs of ISL 2017-18. The Uruguayan footballer featured in 16 of NorthEast United's games and was their most reliable man at the back. With a passing accuracy of over 80% and timely tackles, Diaz kept things in check for The Highlanders.

The 30-year-old made a switch to FC Pune City amidst much anticipation. However, it will be safe to say that Martin Diaz has underperformed for The Stallions.

Despite his big 6 feet 2 inch frame, the Pune-based franchise has only maintained 2 clean sheets from their 11 matches thus far. A lot is expected from a player of Martin's potentials but he has not lived up to them this season.

While Pune are currently reeling at 7th place this ISL, NorthEast United are playing exceptionally well and are at the 3rd spot and a big contender to make it to the playoffs.

#1 Kalu Uche (Delhi Dynamos to ATK)

Kalu Uche could not make the same impact like  he did for Delhi
Kalu Uche could not make the same impact like he did for Delhi

Kalu Uche was The Lions' sole saviour in many of the matches they played last season. The Nigerian forward was the go-to man for the Delhi Dynamos. He scored 13 goals and got 2 assists in the 15 matches he featured for the Dynamos last season. Uche was also their captain and always led from the front.

Things have not gone right for Uche ever since he made a move to ATK ahead of the 2018-19 season. As it is the Nigerian was struggling and only scored 1 goal in 5 games for the Red and Whites. However, to add to his woes he suffered a quadriceps muscle tear last month. It was a grade three tear and Uche is currently receiving treatment in Barcelona. He will only be fit by the end of January next year or early February 2019. However, nothing can be said for certain.

ATK are currently at the 6th position in the ISL table and will hope they can get the prolific striker back as soon as possible. Till then, they have got Alfaro on loan from FC Pune City as his replacement.

These are indeed worrying times for Steve Coppell and ATK as they only have 10 goals in their 11 matches and do not pose much of a threat up front as Balwant Singh and Everton Santos are also misfiring.

Edited by Aravind Suchindran

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