The Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 edition recorded a massive rise in the amount of money spent by the clubs in bringing players from overseas. With the AFC Champions League, AFC Cup qualifications and a longer league in the reckoning, ISL clubs did some serious business to get the finest crop of foreign players to stand out among the eleven participating teams.
Sportskeeda takes a look at the top 10 foreigners of the season:
#10 Luis Machado
Luis Machado played an instrumental role in NorthEast United FC's fourth-place finish. The Portuguese was used in multiple positions on the pitch by Gerard Nus and later by Khalid Jamil. He started as a winger, then shifted to the role of a playmaker and was also used as a second striker. He scored 7 goals and made 2 assists.
#9 Hugo Boumous
Hugo Boumous has always been known for his vision and control on the ball for the past few seasons in the ISL. The French-Morrocan's 2020-21 season was plagued by regular injuries and suspensions. However, a lack of match fitness and discipline did not deter his supremacy in midfield for Mumbai City FC. Boumous made 7 assists and scored thrice in what was the finest season for Mumbai City FC in their history.
#8 Diego Mauricio
Diego Mauricio was the single most important player for Odisha FC. The Brazilian striker scored 12 goals in the season, which was more than half of the number of goals scored by Odisha FC altogether. Mauricio also made 2 assists. His solo runs and regular scoring always made Odisha FC a dangerous team with the ball, despite finishing bottom of the league table.
#7 Federico Gallego
Federico Gallego supported Luis Machado in attack for NorthEast United FC. Gallego was also used in different positions across the pitch and has been one of the most versatile foreigners to play in India in recent seasons. The Uruguayan scored 4 goals and made 6 assists for his side.
#6 Jorge Ortiz Mendoza
With the departure of the likes of Hugo Boumous to Mumbai City FC, FC Goa needed the perfect playermaker replacement to fit into Juan Ferrando's system. Jorge Ortiz scored 6 goals and made an assist in 21 appearances for the Gaurs. Ortiz displayed his versatility on the field by taking up the mantle of playing as a winger, playmaker and even as a primary striker in place of Igor Angulo upfront.
#5 Mourtada Fall
Mourtada Fall continued his rock-solid defensive performances into the 2020-21 Indian Super League season. He was the leader at the back for Sergio Lobera and also played an instrumental part in scoring goals from set-piece situations for the Islanders. Fall scored 4 goals for his side and was involved in 10 of his clubs' clean sheets.
#4 Ahmed Jahouh
Ahmed Jahouh was the midfield general for Mumbai City FC in the recently concluded season. The Morrocon defensive midfielder made 5 assists in 20 games this season. Jahouh was the key man behind the double pivots and acted as the principal blocker and interceptor of the ball.
#3 Alberto Noguera
Alberto Noguera was not part of Ferrando's game plan at first but the Spaniard eventually clawed back into the team due to his exemplary passing abilities and vision with the ball. Noguera was the season's highest assist maker with 8 assists.
#2 Igor Angulo
FC Goa's scrupulous recruitment policy paid off yet again as they brought in Igor Angulo as the perfect replacement for outgoing striker Ferran Corominas. Angulo finished the league as the highest scorer with 14 goals in 21 games courtesy of his exemplary finishing skills in front of goal.
#1 Roy Krishna
Despite not topping the scoring charts, ATK Mohun Bagan FC's Roy Krishna was rightfully adjudged the 'Hero of the Season'. Krishna was second on the goal-scorers list with 14 goals in 23 games. The Fijian international finished second in the assist charts as well, creating 8 goals. Krishna's solo runs and timely goals eked out vital points for Habas' side throughout the season.
Special Mentions: Bright Enobakhare (SC East Bengal), Aridane Santana (Hyderabad FC), Carl McHugh (ATK Mohun Bagan FC)