Arjuna award winner, Inivalappil Mani Vijayan is a former professional Indian football player who was born on 25th April 1969 in Thrissur, Kerala.
In the late nineties and early 2000s, Vijayan formed a successful attacking partnership with Bhaichung Bhutia for the Indian national team as he played in the striker position.
In the year 1987, Vijayan started his football career playing for Kerala Police for 4 years after which he moved to Mohun Bagan for a year and returned back to Kerala police.
He scored maximum goals for Kerala Police and just after 2 years, in 1989, he was selected for the Indian national football team and eventually became one of the best footballer for India.
In the year 1989, Vijayan made his international debut for the Indian national football team and represented India in number of tournaments such as Nehru Cup, SAAF Cup, SAF Games, pre-Olympics and pre-World Cup.
Rise to Glory
Coming from a poor background, Vijayan had a passion for the game of football, and rose to glory at the age of 17 years, when the then DGP of Kerala noticed his brilliant performance and was selected for the Kerala Police football club.
Vijayan was able to impress the national football fraternity very soon with his impeccable skills and highly aggressive style of playing as he delivered brilliant performance for Kerala Police and became one of the most popular and highest earner of the Indian team.
Vijayan started his career with Kerala police and then switched with Mohun Bagan. He came back to Kerala Police in 1992 and the next year switched back to Mohun Bagan. He also represented East Bengal club, JCT and FC Kochin in his club career.
Though he spent his entire career in India until retirement, but due to his talent, Vijayan attracted interest from clubs in Malaysia and Thailand.
He scored a total of 240 goals in his entire club career. East Bengal club was the last club that Vijayan represented.
Vijayan become the first player to be honored with Player of the year award for multiple times. He received the award in 1993, 1997 and 1999.
He was also crowned the Arjuna award in the year 2003 for his incredible performance.
In the 1999 SAF Games, he scored one of the fastest ever international goals in a match against Bhutan, when he managed to do the same in mere 12 seconds.
After the Afro-Asian Games of 2003, Vijayan formally retired from international football. However he last represented East Bengal football club in the year 2006.
He scored 40 goals in the 79 appearances he made for India.