Best Indian Football Players | Famous Indian Football Players | Indian Football |

Indian football has many famous and successful players who play in Europe as well and have impressed everyone with their skills. Today we are going to discuss the famous Indian football players who have a significant role in shaping Indian Football. First of all, let us discuss the AIFF.

The India national football team, overseen by the All India Football Federation (AIFF), proudly represents the nation on the international stage. Regarded as a dominant force in South Asian football, the team has achieved notable successes throughout its history.

One of the most significant achievements for the team came in the form of two gold medals at the 1951 and 1962 Asian Games, highlighting India’s prowess in the sport.

Additionally, the team’s fourth-place finish at the 1956 Summer Olympics underscored their competitiveness on a global scale.

Despite never gracing the FIFA World Cup with their presence, India’s journey to the 1950 World Cup remains a notable chapter in their history.

While they qualified by default after other nations withdrew, India ultimately decided to withdraw from the tournament before it commenced.

Famous Indian Football Players

Here are the top 5 famous Indian Football Players or Best Indian football players who played a major role in shaping Indian football.

Sunil Chhetri (Forward)

Sunil Chhetri, born on August 3, 1984, stands tall as an iconic figure in Indian football and is one of the most famous Indian football players. With a stellar career marked by exceptional skill and leadership, he has carved his name as one of the nation’s footballing legends.

Best Indian Football Players | Famous Indian Football Players | Indian Football |

Chhetri’s role extends beyond the pitch; he not only serves as a forward but also captains both Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League and the India national team.

Renowned for his adept link-up play, prolific goal-scoring prowess, and exemplary leadership qualities, Chhetri has earned his place among the elite.

Currently, he ranks as the third-highest international goalscorer among active players, trailing only behind the illustrious Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Moreover, he holds the distinction of being the most-capped player and the all-time leading goalscorer for the Indian national team.

Chhetri’s professional journey commenced in 2002 with Mohun Bagan, where he showcased his talent before moving to JCT, where he impressed with 21 goals in 48 games.

Notably, he represented the Delhi team in the 59th edition of the Santosh Trophy, leaving an indelible mark with six goals, including a memorable hat-trick against Gujarat.

Despite Delhi’s loss to Kerala in the quarter-finals, Chhetri’s performance remained stellar, with another goal to his credit.

In 2010, Chhetri ventured abroad, signing with Major League Soccer outfit Kansas City Wizards, thereby becoming one of the few players from the Indian subcontinent to make such a move.

Following his stint in the MLS, he returned to India’s I-League, plying his trade for Chirag United and later Mohun Bagan, before embarking on another foreign stint, this time with Sporting CP in Portugal’s Primeira Liga, where he represented the club’s reserve team.

Chhetri’s contributions to Indian football extend beyond the club level. He played a pivotal role in India’s triumphs at the 2007, 2009, and 2012 Nehru Cup, as well as the 2011, 2015, 2021, and 2023 SAFF Championship.

Best Indian Football Players | Famous Indian Football Players | Indian Football |

Notably, he led India to glory in the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup, a victory that secured their qualification for the AFC Asian Cup after a hiatus of 27 years, where he delivered crucial goals during the 2011 tournament.

In 2016, Chhetri’s leadership propelled Bengaluru FC to a commendable silver medal finish in the AFC Cup, further solidifying his status as a footballing stalwart.

His remarkable performances have earned him the prestigious AIFF Player of the Year award on a record seven occasions, underscoring his consistent excellence on the field.

Acknowledging his remarkable sporting achievements, Chhetri was honored with the Arjuna Award in 2011 and the Padma Shri in 2019, recognizing his immense contributions to Indian football.

However, his crowning glory came in 2021 when he was bestowed with the Khel Ratna Award, India’s highest sporting honor, thereby etching his name in the annals of Indian sports history as the first footballer to receive this esteemed accolade.

Club Stats

Teams

Matches

Goals

I-League

61

29

Mumbai City

17

7

Bengaluru

212

93

Total (other goals when he was young and playing for Delhi, JTC)

541

253

International Stats

Teams

Matches

Goals

India U20

3

2

India U23

6

2

India

148

93

Total

157

Bhaichung Bhutia (Forward)

Bhaichung Bhutia, born on December 15, 1976, also spelled as Baichung Bhutia, stands as a notable figure in Indian football history.

His prowess as a striker has left an indelible mark on the international stage, earning him the title of the “Sikkimese Sniper” owing to his remarkable shooting skills, and is considered one of the most famous Indian football players.

Throughout his career, Bhutia illuminated the football scene with his talent and dedication. Regarded as the torchbearer of Indian football globally, his impact transcends borders.

Best Indian Football Players | Famous Indian Football Players | Indian Football |

It’s no surprise that the legendary I. M. Vijayan, a three-time Indian Player of the Year, hailed Bhutia as “God’s gift to Indian football.

It was here that his journey towards European football commenced.

In 1999, Bhutia etched his name in history by becoming the first Indian footballer to secure a contract with a European club when he joined England’s Bury FC.

This groundbreaking move not only showcased his talent but also opened doors for future Indian footballers.

Following his stint in England, Bhutia embarked on a brief loan spell with the Malaysian club Perak FA, further expanding his international football experience.

Back home in India, Bhutia’s contributions extended beyond clubs. He graced the fields for renowned teams like JCT Mills, experiencing both triumph and challenge.

His tenure at Mohun Bagan, though not crowned with league victory, added depth to his illustrious career.

Best Indian Football Players | Famous Indian Football Players | Indian Football |

On the international stage, Bhutia’s achievements glitter with numerous accolades. He proudly hoisted the Nehru Cup, LG Cup, and the SAFF Championship trophy thrice, showcasing his dominance in regional competitions.

His remarkable journey also includes milestones in representation. Bhutia stands tall as India’s second most-capped player, having adorned the national jersey in 80 international matches.

Moreover, he holds the distinction of being India’s second youngest international goal scorer, a feat he achieved at the tender age of 18 years and 90 days, netting his maiden goal against Uzbekistan during the 1995 Nehru Cup.

Club Stats

Played for many different teams

Matches

Goals

Total

226

100

International Stats

Teams

Matches

Goals

India U23

4

3

India

84

27

Total

88

30

Sandesh Jhingan (Defender)

Sandesh Jhingan, born on July 21, 1993, stands tall as a prominent figure in Indian football.

Renowned for his prowess as a center-back, he showcases his skills both for the Indian Super League club Goa and the Indian national team and is considered one of the most famous Indian football players.

Best Indian Football Players | Famous Indian Football Players | Indian Football |

Jhingan’s journey in the realm of football is marked by numerous accolades and milestones. Back in 2014, he clinched the prestigious AIFF Emerging Player of the Year award, a testament to his early promise and talent.

The following year, in 2015, he proudly donned the blue jersey, making his debut for the India national side, a moment that marked the beginning of his impactful career on the international stage.

In a significant recognition of his contributions to Indian football, Jhingan was bestowed with the Arjuna Award in 2020, a prestigious honor that highlights his outstanding achievements and dedication to the sport, and is considered one of the most famous Indian football players.

Best Indian Football Players | Famous Indian Football Players | Indian Football |

This award, the second-highest sporting honor in India, stands as a symbol of his relentless pursuit of excellence on the field.

Moreover, Jhingan’s exceptional performances have not gone unnoticed within the footballing fraternity. In the 2020-21 season, he was honored with the AIFF Men’s Player of the Year

Award, further solidifying his status as one of the most influential figures in Indian football.

With his unwavering determination, undeniable talent, and a string of accolades to his name, Sandesh Jhingan continues to inspire aspiring footballers across the nation, leaving an indelible mark on the Indian football landscape.

Club Stats

Teams

Matches

Goals

Kerala Blasters

78

0

Different Teams ( ATK Mohun Bagan, Bengaluru, Goa)

137

5

Career Total

215

5

International Stats

Year

Matches

Goals

2015

7

0

2016

5

2

2017

9

2

2018

7

0

2019

8

0

2021

4

0

2022

7

0

2023

13

1

2024

1

0

Total

61

5

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Goal-Keeper)

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, born on February 3, 1992, stands tall as an eminent figure in Indian football and is considered one of the most famous Indian football players.

Renowned for his prowess as a goalkeeper, Sandhu currently showcases his talents for the Indian Super League powerhouse, Bengaluru FC, while also representing the national team with distinction.

Best Indian Football Players | Famous Indian Football Players | Indian Football |

A milestone moment in Sandhu’s career occurred on September 3, 2016, when he was bestowed with the captain’s armband for the Indian national team in a friendly clash against Puerto Rico.

The match ended in a resounding 4-1 victory for India, marking a memorable occasion for Sandhu and his teammates.

Sandhu’s journey is punctuated with remarkable achievements. Notably, he holds the distinction of being the first Indian to grace a competitive match for the senior team of a premier European club, a feat that underscored his talent and ambition on the global stage.

Joining the esteemed ranks of Mohammed Salim, Bhaichung Bhutia, Sunil Chhetri, and Subrata Pal, who are famous Indian football players, then Sandhu became the fifth Indian to ply his trade professionally in Europe, a testament to his dedication and skill.

Breaking barriers and setting precedents, Sandhu etched his name in history as the first Indian to feature in the UEFA Europa League. This momentous milestone further elevated his standing in the footballing world.

Best Indian Football Players | Famous Indian Football Players | Indian Football |

His journey to excellence knows no bounds, as evidenced by his recent stint in the vibrant city of Sydney, where he honed his craft under the tutelage of esteemed coach Zeljko Kalac, a former AC Milan goalkeeper.

In essence, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu embodies the spirit of Indian football, blazing trails, and inspiring generations with his remarkable talent, unwavering determination, and relentless pursuit of excellence.

As he continues to scale new heights and carve his legacy in the annals of the sport, Sandhu remains a beacon of hope and a symbol of pride for football enthusiasts across the nation.

Club Stats

Teams

Matches

Goals

East Bengal

92

0

Stabæk

11

0

Bengaluru

145

0

Career Total

248

0

International Stats

Year

Matches

Goals

2011

1

0

2015

6

0

2016

6

0

2017

7

0

2018

7

0

2019

11

0

2021

10

0

2022

8

0

2023

10

0

2024

1

0

Total

67

0

Jeje Lalpekhlua (Forward)

Jeje Lalpekhlua Fanai, commonly known as Jeje, was born on January 7, 1991. He has made a mark not only as a former professional footballer but also as a notable Indian politician and is considered one of the most famous Indian football players.

His journey took a significant turn on March 27, 2023, when he officially joined the Zoram People’s Movement.

Best Indian Football Players | Famous Indian Football Players | Indian Football |

In the subsequent 2023 Mizoram Legislative Assembly election, Jeje emerged victorious from the South Tuipui constituency, solidifying his position in the political arena.

In the realm of football, Jeje has left an indelible legacy. He holds the title of being the second-highest Indian goalscorer in the history of the Indian Super League and boasts the record for the highest number of goals scored for Chennaiyin.

His achievements include clinching the 2014–15 I-League trophy with Mohun Bagan and securing victory in the 2015 Indian Super League with Chennaiyin.

Best Indian Football Players | Famous Indian Football Players | Indian Football |

These triumphs paved the way for further accolades, such as the prestigious 2015–16 FPAI Indian Player of the Year award and the AIFF Men’s Player of the Year Award.

Jeje’s prowess extended beyond club football to the international stage. Between 2011 and 2019, he showcased his talent in 56 international matches, netting an impressive total of 23 goals. This remarkable feat underscored his significance as a key figure in Indian football.

Club Stats

Teams

Matches

Goals

Pune

61

19

Chennaiyin

79

25

Mohun Bagan

75

31

Career Total

258

95

International Stats

Year

Matches

Goals

2011

15

8

2012

0

0

2013

6

0

2014

0

0

2015

10

3

2016

6

5

2017

9

4

2018

7

2

2019

3

1

Total

56

23

On February 23, 2011, Lalpekhlua marked a significant milestone by stepping onto the field for his debut with the Indian U-23 team.

Not only did he make his presence known, but he also showcased his talent by scoring his maiden goal in a thrilling 2–1 victory over Myanmar. It was a momentous start to what would become an illustrious career.

Less than a month later, on March 21, 2011, Lalpekhlua earned his senior debut in a high-stakes match against Chinese Taipei during the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup qualification.

Making his mark once again, he netted his first senior-level goal, solidifying his position as a rising star in Indian football.

Just two days after his senior debut, on March 23, 2011, Lalpekhlua continued to shine by bagging two more goals in a remarkable display against Pakistan, further enhancing his reputation as a formidable striker, and is considered one of the most famous Indian football players.

His performance garnered attention not only domestically but also on the international stage.

March 25, 2011, saw Lalpekhlua adding another goal to his burgeoning international career, this time in a draw against Turkmenistan.

With each match, he was proving his mettle and cementing his status as a key player for the Indian national team.

Fast forward to July 28, 2011, and Lalpekhlua showcased his prowess once more, finding the back of the net in a thrilling 2–2 draw against the United Arab Emirates during the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification phase.

While the draw itself was historic, it wasn’t enough to propel India forward, as they succumbed to a 3–0 defeat in the first leg.

November 16, 2011, marked another significant moment in Lalpekhlua’s career as he scored a crucial goal against Malaysia in a thrilling 3–2 friendly victory.

His consistency in finding the net was earning him recognition both at home and abroad.

Following an impressive trial with Rangers of Scotland, Lalpekhlua seized the opportunity to showcase his skills on an international stage, participating in his first competitive tournament, the SAFF Cup.

He kicked off the tournament on December 3, 2011, with a stellar performance against Afghanistan.

It wasn’t until December 7, 2011, that Lalpekhlua found the net again, this time against Sri Lanka, further solidifying his position as a prolific goal scorer.

He saved his best for last, contributing to India’s triumph in the final against Afghanistan on December 11, 2011, with a goal that helped secure a resounding 4–0 victory.

Fast forward to the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, where Lalpekhlua once again left his mark on the international stage with a historic goal in India’s 4–1 victory over Thailand.

Despite his stellar performance, India faced disappointment as they were eliminated in the group stage after subsequent losses.

Throughout his career, Lalpekhlua has proven himself to be a dynamic and talented striker, earning recognition both domestically and internationally.

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