India’s premier football competition, the Indian Super League has attracted several prominent foreign players in recent past, and the 2020-21 season was no different. What was different this season, however, was the teams’ approach of doing something atypical from the usual curve; filling in the voids by necessary recruitments rather than going for big names. This has resulted in teams performing above the usual expectations and this has made this season all the more interesting.
Keeping that in mind, here we look at five foreign recruitments who have been brilliant in the Indian Super League 2020-21 season.
FC Goa forward Igor Angulo has already taken the league by storm since arriving in India from Polish I Liga club Górnik Zabrze. The former Atletico Bilbao striker has scored 12 goals in 16 matches and is only one behind ATK Mohun Bagan talisman Roy Krishna (13 goals) in the ISL 7 Golden Boot race. The 37-year-old has proved to be the perfect replacement for FC Goa’s all-time top goalscorer Ferrán Corominas. Angulo has in fact played a major role in helping the Gaurs stay in the race for the top four slots.
Adam le Fondre
Mumbai City FC’s new striker, Adam le Fondre made an instant impact in the Indian Super League 2020-21 season and was one of the reasons why the Islanders got off to a blistering start. Sergio Lobera’s men may have suffered a dip in form, but the 34-year-old former Bolton striker has continued to challenge Roy Krishna for the golden boot, scoring 11 goals in 17 games. He has, in fact, scored five goals in his last four outings, and has arguably been one of the best foreign recruits the league has ever seen.
NorthEast United’s Federico Gallego has been the standout creative midfielder in the ongoing edition of the ISL. The 30-year-old Uruguayan has racked up four goals and six assists in the 13 ISL matches that he has played so far for the Highlanders this season. Gallego has been instrumental in helping his side stay in contention for a top-four finish in ISL 7. Into his third season in the league, the midfielder has already made a name for himself in Indian football.
In what has been a troubling season for Odisha FC as a whole, a certain Diego Mauricio has been a rather rose in the gloom, having scored nine of his team’s 17 goals this season and assisting one; which translates to more than 50% of goal contribution in the team’s total. His recent heroics saw putting a massive dent on Kerala Blasters’ hopes of making it to the playoffs after having scored twice against the Tuskers. His goals have, in fact, rescued Odisha several times this season, thrice to be precise. It is safe to say that the Brazilian has been playing on an entirely new dimension this season.
Hyderabad FC's central defender Odei Onaindia has proved himself to be one of the top foreign defenders in ISL 7. The 31-year-old Spaniard has brilliantly led an inexperienced backline for the Nizams in the ongoing season of the Indian Super League. Hyderabad’s defence consisting of Onaindia, Chinglensana Singh, Asish Rai and Akash Mishra, has been the recipe for their success as they find themselves in the third spot in the ISL 2020-21 points table. Onaindia has featured in all of the 18 games that Hyderabad have played, showing the immense trust that coach Manuel Márquez Roca has in him.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @ISL