The mix of experience and youth in the squad has always been the forte of Mumbai City FC in the ISL.
Mumbai City FC had some of the most prolific players in their roster over the years. Their performances have only enhanced the reputation of the club and in turn have made Mumbai a formidable force in the Indian Super League. International stars such as Diego Forlan and Nicolas Anelka have donned the colours of Mumbai and have provided the much-needed respite in times of need.
During the initial five seasons of the ISL, the performances of these few elite players have ensured that there is no dull moment on the pitch. It will be safe to say if we assemble these players together at once, the final XI on the field would be nothing short of exemplary.
Given the talent and experience that Mumbai have been blessed with for five long seasons, we bring you the best playing XI of this esteemed club in a 4-3-3 formation.
Goalkeeper (Amrinder Singh)
The lad from Punjab has been a constant figure between the poles for Mumbai City since 2016. In his first season with the Islanders, Amrinder Singh kept five clean sheets in the six matches that he played. However, his best stint came in the 2017-18 campaign when he completed a record 59 saves, the most by any player in the league that season.
His performance only improved in the next season when he posted 66 saves in a mere 19 encounters for the club. His performances ensured that he made his way to the Indian football team where he is the second-choice goalkeeper.
Defenders (Manuel Friedrich - Subhasish Bose - Gerson Vieira - Lucian Goian)
The German defender, Manuel Friedrich played the inaugural season for Mumbai and was a formidable force in the back line. His passing accuracy was impeccable, and he averaged almost two tackles per game in his sole season with the Islanders.
Subhasish Bose joined Mumbai in the 2018-19 campaign and held on to his position quite admirably. His stern approach has been helping Mumbai to take guard at the back since the last season and his blocking capabilities have proved worthwhile for the club.
A rock-solid defender from Brazil, Gerson Vieira was a revelation at the back for Mumbai. In the 2018-19 season with Mumbai, Gerson averaged three tackles per game keeping the momentum in favour of the club in crucial matches.
Lucian Goian became only the first player in three consecutive seasons for the Islanders. The Romanian defender enjoyed a successful tenure with the Islanders and made a record 246 tackles in his three years with the club. He is one of the most iconic players of the club and has made a favourable reputation for himself in the ISL.
Midfielders (Paulo Machado - Arnold Issoko - Freddie Ljunberg)
Blessed with a pin-point accuracy to pass the ball at the feet of the fellow player, Paulo Machado has been Mumbai’s shining light in the midfield from the past season. The Portuguese midfielder’s solid reputation in the midfield is only enhanced by his solid passing accuracy percentage of 66.34 over the two seasons so far with the club.
Another midfielder which the club is blessed to have is Arnold Issoko who had spent most of his professional career in Portugal. His assists rate was significantly better than his peers as he posted eight assists and netted three goals in his 18 matches with Mumbai. This one made a huge impact on Mumbai’s campaign in 2018-19.
The veteran player, Freddie Ljunberg played just four matches for the Islanders, but his presence was more than enough to attract the much-needed hype that ISL desperately needed. Mumbai City were graced with his skills in the inaugural season of the ISL but failed to hold on to him for long.
Forwards (Sunil Chhetri – Diego Forlan – Nicolas Anelka)
The Indian football captain, Sunil Chhetri played for Mumbai in the 2015-16 season and registered seven goals in a mere 11 matches. His exceptional display on field is always well appreciated and he is among one of the top goal scorers in the league.
Having played for clubs like Manchester United, Inter Milan and Villarreal, Diego Forlan’s short cameo with Mumbai City was a dream come true for Indian football fans. He was a phenomenal force up front for the club in the 2016-17 campaign as he racked up five goals in 11 appearances for the club. He is remembered and adored by the fans of Mumbai till date.
Nicolas Anelka played the first season of ISL with Mumbai bringing in a ton of experience he had gathered from his days of glory in Europe. Although he played just a sole season, he still regarded as one of the high-profile players and an all-time great to have donned the jersey of Mumbai City.
Featured image courtesy: AFP/ Punit Paranjpe