India is a developing nation when it comes to the sport of football as the country is still behind other Asian nations when it comes to the popularity of the sport.
Despite this, there have been a number of top players to emerge from the country and here, we take a look at five of our top superstars who have played in foreign leagues during their career.
Sunil Chhetri is without doubt the most popular footballer in India, with the striker a talismanic presence for both club and country. The 37-year-old is not only the most capped Indian player, but also the country’s all-time record goalscorer.
The striker signed for Major League Soccer (MLS) side, Kansas City Wizards in 2010 and even made an appearance for them while also playing for Portugal side, Sporting CP’s B team between 2012 to 2013.
Bhaichung Bhutia was the first footballing superstar to come from India and is regarded as a symbol of the rise of the sport in the country with another legend in I.M Vijayan famously calling him, “God’s gift to Indian football”.
The 45-year-old became the first Indian footballer to sign for a European club when he played for FC Bury – for whom he spent three years making 37 appearances for them.
The legendary striker also had stints with Malaysian clubs, Perak F.A and Selangor MK Land.
Subrata Pal is widely considered to be the best goalkeeper to come from India, with the 35-year-old putting on match winning performances consistently for both club and country.
Pal created history when he became the first Indian goalkeeper to sign for a European club when he moved to FC Vestjaelland in the Danish Superliga in 2014.
Despite signing on as member of the first team squad, he did not make a single appearance for them and only played for the reserve squad.
Widely considered as the best dead-ball specialist in India’s footballing history, Renedy Singh’s ability on the ball saw him become a mainstay of all the teams he played for during his career.
The 42-year-old moved to Bulgarian First League side, CSKA Sofia on loan from Kerala Blasters in 2015, but did not make any official appearances for the team as they were facing serious financial difficulties at the time.
The first Indian footballer to play in the UEFA Europa League, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu spent three years with Norwegian side, Stabaek between 2014 to 2017.
The 30-year-old returned back to India in August 2014 and since then has ensured that he is the first choice goalkeeper for both club and country.