Rating the former Chelsea and Arsenal stars to have featured in the ISL
The Indian Super League (ISL) has been a breakthrough of sorts as far as Indian football is concerned. Right from its inception in 2014, it has served as one of the premier competitions in India. Featuring eight teams in the three seasons so far, the league is all set to expand to 10 teams in the coming one with the addition of Bengaluru FC and a Jamshedpur franchise owned by the Tata group.
The ISL is the most attended professional football league in Asia and commands some of the highest attendances in the world. Two teams have been crowned champions of the ISL so far – Atletico de Kolkata winning the inaugural season as well as last season whilst Chennaiyin FC won it in 2015.
The league has depended on a number of legends of the game, who in their final years of their career graced the pitches around India. But with the coming season, more emphasis will be put on Indian players as the signing of marquee players will be made optional.
Popular stars from the Premier League have strutted their stuff in the ISL and managed to garner a lot of fan support for their teams. With that in mind, let’s have a look at former Chelsea and Arsenal stars that have featured in the ISL so far.
#1 Nicolas Anelka: 5/10
Who better to start off this list with than someone who has played for both the London giants and has won the domestic double with both of them. Anelka joined Arsenal as a teenager in 1997 and was adjudged Young Player of the Year by PFA in the following season. Journeying across Europe, the Frenchman came back to London when he joined Chelsea in 2008. He played in the Champions League final that season and lifted the FA Cup trophy in the following one, in which he also won the Golden Boot in the Premier League.
Anelka joined Mumbai City as a marquee player in the inaugural season of the ISL and served as player-manager in the second season. He scored two goals in seven matches in 2014 and failed to score in six matches in 2015. The former Champions League winner with Real Madrid and Euro 2000 winner with France subsequently retired from football.
#2 Freddie Ljungberg: 2/10
The former Swedish winger spent nine years at Arsenal, winning two Premier League titles and three FA Cups as well as finishing runners-up in the Champions League. Ljungberg was, in fact, adjudged the Premier League Player of the Season in 2002 and placed 11th in Gunners' Greatest 50 Players in 2008.
Ljungberg came back from retirement to take part in the inaugural season of the ISL for Mumbai City as their marquee player. However, due to persistent injury problems, the Swede played just four games for the team before cutting his contract short and retiring from football altogether. The former Swedish captain is currently the assistant manager of VfL Wolfsburg.