Since the inception of the Indian Super League (ISL) in 2013, the league has had its fair share of overseas players. From Elano and Borja Fernandes to the likes of Robbie Keane and Tim Cahill, a plethora of international superstars have graced the ISL with their presence.
In recent years, a few players have etched their names into Indian footballing history. In the context of the current season, there have been a few high profile signings from abroad.
Let’s take a look at a few players who could come good for their teams in the upcoming ISL season.
1) Steven Taylor (Odisha FC)
There was a lot of media attention when Steven Taylor decided to sign for Odisha FC after playing in the United States and Australia. In spite of being 34, Taylor has a lot to offer not just in terms of his abilities as a center-back but also his leadership skills. The fact that was captain for Premier Newcastle United in the Premier League is evidence of his leadership skills.
The defensive unit of Odisha FC conceded 31 goals in the last season of the ISL, and they missed out on a playoffs spot by just three points. However, with Taylor part of the outfit this time around, coach Stuart Baxter will be hoping for a much tighter back-line.
2) Tiri (ATK Mohun Bagan)
Having featured for various teams in the ISL over the years, Tiri’s services are highly valued and extremely sought-after. The Spaniard joined the league in 2015 as part of the ATK team before moving to Jamshedpur FC in 2017, where he was a regular.
This season, it would seem as though he has made his way back home after being re-signed by ATK Mohun Bagan. Standing tall at six feet, Tiri’s defensive prowess is as solid as they come, and ATK Mohun Bagan will hope to secure a title in their debut season in the league.
3) Marcelinho (Odisha FC)
Like Tiri, Marcelinho’s services are much sought-after in the league since he made his way to India in 2016 to play professional football. The 33-year old Brazilian has played for the now-defunct Pune City FC and the Delhi Dynamos, where he netted 24 goals before making the move to Hyderabad FC.
Despite the Hyderabad-based club’s torrid 2019/20 ISL season, Marcelinho had a good outing with 7 goals from 17 appearances.
In a total of 63 appearances, the Brazilian has scored 31 goals, with only Sunil Chhetri and Coro scoring more goals than him. With Odisha FC’s lofty ambitions for the season, Marcelinho will be expected to perform for his team.
4) Peter Hartley (Jamshedpur FC)
Jamshedpur FC’s acquisition of Scot Peter Hartley is something of a coup. Having played almost all his football in England and Scotland, this is the first overseas assignment for the 32-year old.
Given his success in the UK and his rather stocky frame, a lot will be expected from Hartley in addition to him being part of the ISL for the foreseeable future.
5) Vicente Gomez (Kerala Blasters)
Of all the players on display in the ISL, perhaps the most distinguished of the lot would be Spanish defender Vicente Gomez. Having played for Las Palmas for nine years, Gomez is one of the few players with experience in the La Liga.
He was an important figure for Deportivo La Coruna for two seasons before being signed by the Kerala Blasters.
Despite being predominantly deployed as a defensive midfielder, Gomez is a capable center-back, which has become his usual position in recent years. Having lost out on keeping Sandesh Jhingan, the 33-year old will be expected to marshal his team's defensive unit in the ISL.