Indian Super League has transformed the face of Indian football on the global stage in several ways and incarnations. One of them has been the exposure that Indian football has received off late, while the notable others have been the roping-in of glittering stars of the sport that Indians mostly saw on the other side of the television.
However, nothing comes for free and the same is applicable when it comes to the gracing of the league by those speculated foreigners who at one point in time reigned supreme in European Leagues and world football, leaving behind a trail of beautiful carnage that was applauded even louder by the fans of their oppositions.
In this story, we will be looking at the five most expensive signings of the Indian Super League, India’s most glittering annual football extravaganza that has now pledged to change India’s footballing surface once and forever.
5. David Trezeguet (Rs 4.5 crores)
The former French international whose trophy cabinet is bedecked till the very brim decided to come down to India in order to give us a taste of a fine French Cassoulet, metaphorically of course. He joined the now-defunct franchise called FC Pune City in the first edition of the extravaganza.
Despite Trezeguet being the villain of the 2006 World Cup final after missing his penalty, he was also a part of the 1998 World Cup-winning French squad. His club honours were also inclusive of two Serie A titles with the Old Lady. He was also a part of the Juventus all-time playing XI in 2017.
However, when he joined the Indian side, he was way past his prime and a trailing physique managed to play 9 matches and score two goals, dragging himself more often than firing his way through a barrage of defenders which the world was acclimatized to.
Unfortunately, his appearance in the solitary season in ISL was also the last football foray from him that the world saw. He managed to bag a price of Rs 4.5 crores, which to date remains as one of the highest figures.
4. Elano Blumer (Rs 4.8 crores)
This man established himself in India on his very first rodeo as the menacing version of the icon that he already was at a global level. When he was roped in by Chennaiyin FC, a lot of questions were posed whether the Brazilian talisman would have exuded a similar efficacy or not? However, when he took the field, Elano Blumer speared himself to similar glory in the sub-continent.
In the very inaugural season of ISL, he went on to smash 8 goals from 11 games, aiding Chennaiyin to reach the semi-finals of the fray. He also became the highest goal-scorer of the tournament, claiming the Golden Boot award.
After a rippling display in his maiden essay in India, Chennai believed that he will be able to continue with a similar menace in the ensuing season too. Haplessly, he couldn’t live up to the expectations and could only score 4 goals. In his second season for Chennaiyin, he commanded a price of Rs 4.8 crores.
3. Nicolas Anelka (Rs 5.4 crores)
Chelsea icon, Nicolas Anelka conjured a staggering Rs 5.4 crores in the maiden edition of the tournament when he was roped in by Mumbai City FC. Despite Mumbai bagging him for a hefty amount, he was way past his prime and the impact that he had on the fray wasn’t as scintillating as it was at Stamford Bridge.
However, the former Premier League, Serie A and FA Cup winner found himself grappling with the likes of mediocrity and clattering tackles from towering physiques in the Indian rearguard.
Despite bagging a staggering Rs 5.4 crores, his following season started on a sour note when he got involved in an altercation with a striker, Andre Moritz that resulted in the latter being sent home after a solitary game.
2. Diego Forlan (Rs 6 crores)
The former Manchester United player, Diego Forlan became the highest-earning player in the 2016 edition of the tournament, however, with time passing slowly, he descended to the third spot. There were several clubs at the beginning of the fray that was in hot pursuit of the Uruguayan. Despite such stiff competition, Mumbai managed to rope the United legend in without much ado.
Those curling free-kicks turned into hellish nightmares for others and this led to Mumbai City FC reaching the semi-finals before ATK edged past them in a closely-contested encounter.
However, ISL wasn’t the end of the line for Forlan as he went on to play at Kitchee SC in Hong Kong where he pulled the plug on his career.
1. Alessandro Del Piero (Rs 10.8 crores)
The Italian icon bagged the highest amount that has been shelled out in the Indian Super League until now and he had auxiliary demands that also had to be met by Delhi Dynamos. Not only did the Dynamos meet all his demands, but the reward that they received also wasn’t anywhere close to what one would have expected of Del Piero in his prime.
At 39 years of age, he was way past his prime and could only conjure a couple of scintillating dribbles before those adventurous sorties met an unexpected dangling or rushing foot to snuff out the hopes of the star. He bagged a salary of Rs 10.8 crores.