Over the past few years, the popularity of Indian football has been on a steady increase, and the game has seen a huge step being taken in the right direction. However, with a lot of focus on the teams and the game itself, not a lot is being mentioned about the players. Talking about these footballers is extremely important, because these are the people that will take forward Indian football and make a name for our nation on the world stage.
So today, we will be talking about a few Indian footballers and their backgrounds, which hopefully highlights the struggles they go through for the love of the game.
1. Sunil Chhetri
One cannot mention Indian football and not talk about Sunil Chhetri. Born in 1984 in Secunderabad, Chhetri is one of India’s biggest football stars, and is also the fourth highest active international goal scorer right behind Cristiano Ronaldo, Ali Mabkhout and Lionel Messi.
Chhetri started his career with Mohun Bagan in West Bengal, and has played for various clubs since, including a small stint in Europe with the Sporting Lisbon B team in Portugal. He currently plays for Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) with a market value of 1.6 crore rupees. He is also the current captain of the Indian national team.
Chhetri’s life is a source of inspiration to many young players in the country, and given the lack of popularity of the sport in the initial years of his career, his dedication to the game and the perseverance to become one of the greats is truly commendable. He will definitely go down in history as one of India’s finest athletes.
2. Shubho Paul
Having recently made the headlines, 19 year old Shubho Paul is currently India’s brightest young talent. At just 19, he has made it to the Bayern Munich U19 World Squad, after impressing many during his time at Sudeva Club in Delhi.
Hailing from West Bengal, this young man may not have a lot of honours in his career at the moment, but we are sure that we will be seeing a lot from him in the upcoming decade or so. Shubho Paul is a great exciting talent and is one of the players marking a new era of Indian football, an era that hopefully gets India the recognition it deserves on the world stage.
3. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
A goalkeeper with a great record for the Indian national team, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu currently plays for Bengaluru FC in the ISL, and is the only Indian player to play in the UEFA Europa League for the Norwegian club Stabaek.
Born in Mumbai, the 29 year old has been playing for the Indian national team since 2011 and is currently the first choice keeper for our nation. He also has other honours like the ISL trophy, ISL Golden Glove and the SAFF Championship to his name.
He is one India’s most decorated goalkeepers and his journey has inspired many young goalkeepers in the country, and with a lot of years left in his career, we hope to see India in the World Cup with Sandhu in goal, carrying the burden of 1.3 billion people on his very able and competent shoulders.
4. Sandesh Jhingan
Hailing from Chandigarh, Sandesh Jhingan is one of India’s most popular footballers right now. The defender has had a lot of amazing performances at both international and domestic level, and now plays in Europe for the Croatian side HNK Šibenik.
Jhingan won the title of Emerging Player Of The Season in the inaugural season of ISL. He is also a recipient of the Arjuna Award for his tremendous contributions to India and Indian football.
With his move to Croatia, many people hope that Jhingan represents Indian football to the best extent possible and brings in many other European clubs to India in search of young and exciting players.
5. Bipin Singh
Off the back of a fantastic season with Mumbai City FC in the ISL, Bipin Singh is one of India’s most talked-about footballers of the current generation. Hailing from Manipur, the 26 year old has made a name for himself wherever he has gone and is one of India’s trump cards in future international tournaments.
He started his career in the I-League with Shilong Lajong, and then moved to the ISL with ATK Mohun Bagan and then finally to Mumbai City FC, where he has signed a new contract until May 2025.
Singh is a generational talent for the country and a player who can get India some recognition on the world stage.