The Indian Super League, which is to be held later this year, has already attracted some of the big names in the footballing world. With Players such as Luis Garcia, Joan Capdevila, Mads Junker and Bruno Cirillo already becoming a part of different franchisees, it was as if almost inevitable that more star players would arrive. The Indian Super League team reached out to thousands of its followers via twitter to announce the arrival of Robert Pires, Fredrik Ljungberg, Mikael Silvestre and David Trezeguet. We take a brief look at these star players.
David Trezeguet or as he is nicknamed by the Juventus faithful ‘Trezegol’ started his playing career with Platense at the tender age of 8. Progressing and developing through their youth system, he made first team appearance in 1994. After one season he was snapped up by Monaco, the french Ligue 1 side, where he would develop a striking partnership with countryman Thierry Henry. In his four seasons for the French side, Trezeguet scored a staggering 52 goals in 93 appearances, leading the club to Trophee des champions and two Ligue 1 titles.
His solid and consistent goal scoring prowess earned him a £20 million move to Italian giants Juventus. It is in Italy, where Trezeguet would be known internationally for his vital goals. Trezeguet scored 14 goals in his first season with the Italians. Trezegol emerged instrumental for the Serie A side, leading the club to win 2001-02 Scudetto. He was also awarded the Capocannonieri as the 2001-02 Serie A top scorer. Even through torrid times, when Juventus were relegated into the Seire B, Trezegol stuck with the club and helped them regain promotion by scoring 15 goals in 31 appearances. In Juventus, it was almost like everything that he touched resulting into a goal. Scoring 138 goals in 245 appearances made him the fourth highest goal scorer in the club’s history.
Internationally, Trezeguet formed a fearful strike partnership with Thierry Henry, finding the net 31 times in 71 appearances. He is well renowned for his Euro 2000 goal, which led France to win against Italy in extra time.
His statistics speak for himself, scoring 271 goals in 536 appearances domestically , wherein he has gone on to win the World Cup (1998) , a euro (2000), two Ligue 1 titles, 1 Trophee des champions, 2 Scudettos, 1 Serie B title, 2 Coppa Italias and 1 Primera B Titles, in a career that is spread over 20 years.
FC Pune City has signed David Trezeguet as their marquee player and it is more than justifiable. With the Pune side having only two attackers, quality was needed to drag them through the ISL season. In David Trezeguet they have signed a brilliant player, who still could easily score 10 goals in a season.
A true gentleman to grace the game, Robert Pires started his career in FC Metz. During his six seasons at the French Club from 1993-1998, Pires played over 162 times scoring 43 goals in the process. Decent performances and a trophy (Coupe de la ligue) with FC Metz saw a £5 million move to French powerhouses Olympique de Marseille. Two season at Marseille from 1998-2000, saw a below par Pires, constantly being involved in off the field problems. Silverware eluded the Frenchman as Marsielle missed to win the French League by a point and also lost to Parma in the 1999 UEFA Cup Final. In 2000, Robert Pires was signed for just £6 million by Arsene Wenger to replace Marc Overmars, who had moved to Barcelona. Pires learned to live life at London, after comments on physicality of the English Game, made him a media headline. His initial games were not too mesmerizing and it was clear that he was still adjusting to the transfer. Slowly and gradually Pires started to regain his lost form and scored a superb solo effort goal against Lazio in the 2000-01 Champions League, later in the same season he would score another beauty against rivals Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-final.
Life at Arsenal since, would be easy under the guidance of fellow countryman Arsene Wenger. Appearing for Arsenal over 189 times, scoring 62 goals and winning 3 FA Cups and 2 Premier League titles, Pires has always played a vital role for his club. He was also a crucial part of the ‘Invincibles’ in 2003. His spells with the club have made him a much loved Legend for the Arsenal faithful.
For his country, Pires has been no less than instrumental, providing vital goals and vital assists when needed. He is much remembered for his assist to David Trezeguet which led France to win the 2000 Euros. The Frenchman has an extraordinary career wherein he has won a World Cup (1998), a Euro (2000), Coupe de la ligue, three FA Cups and two Premier Leagues.
To see Robert Pires, grace the game on Indian pitches is no less than a dream come true for many supporters.
“I am very happy to be part of the new League when passion for football in India is on the rise. It will be great to play in front of the enthusiastic Indian fans as well as share all my knowledge with my team mates,I am sure the League will be a huge success and I am delighted to be a part of it”
His recent comments, mentioned above, in the media clearly reflect that the Player is eager to to promote the beautiful in the Indian Subcontinent. Operating as a winger/attacking midfielder, Robert Pires will be a blessing to whoever buys him in the foreign auctions.
Fredrik Ljungberg also known as Freddie, started his playing career in 1982 with Halmstads BK. His performances at youth level earned him a position in the senior squad and he represented the Swedish Club, for four seasons (1994-1998). In these four seasons, Freddie bagged 139 appearances, scored 16 goals and went on to win the Swedish Cup and the League title.
It was evident, that the Swede was talented enough to earn interest from big clubs such as Barcelona, Chelsea and Arsenal.
Arsenal with their 3 million pay check, which was then the highest transfer fee ever for a Swedish players, became the victors.
Freddie, became an Arsenal sweetheart with in his nine seasons for the London Based club. His performances were no less that electrifying and mesmerizing. His best form came in the latter half of the 2001-02 season which resulted in Arsenal winning the Premier League. In his 216 appearances for the London Club, Ljungberg has scored 72 times and is often applauded for his hardwork off the ball. He was so loved by the Arsenal faithful that a chant of “We love you Freddie, because you’ve got red hair, we love you Freddie because you’re everywhere, we love you Freddie, you’re Arsenal through and through” was dedicated solely to him.
Still only at 37, Ljungberg has a lot to offer, he has the capability to set the roof on fire by his exhilarating runs. Just like his former compatriot Robert Pires, it is a dream come true for many Arsenal supporters too see their two legends, play right in front of them.
Mikael Silvestre started his playing career with french club side Rennes. Two seasons which saw his deliver sold performances playing as a Center Back, attracted interests from Liverpool and Manchester United. Despite an approach from then Liverpool gaffer, Gerard Houllier, Silvestre signed for Manchester United on 10th September 1999 for a fee of 4 million.
In his initial seasons he was used as an alternative to replace the injured Ronny Johnsen. He struggled initially to adapt to the physicality of the English game. By the end of 2001-02 season, Silvestre had moved up the ranks of the United defense and was often preferred over veteran Dennis Irwin.
Since then, Silvestre has been like a fish in water, delivering solid performances with Manchester United and meanwhile building a strong chemistry with Rio Ferdinand. All in all Silvestre has been one of the pillars of defense in his 18 year long career spread over four countries which include the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Werder Bremen.
Mikael will provide the necessary framework and the no nonsense clearances for any club, who goes out an buys him. Still at 36, Mikael can be one of the founding stones of any defense in the Indian Super League .
It is no rocket science that whichever franchisee buys these players will benefit from their footballing knowledge, tactical awareness and much needed experience. With capabilities to mesmerize the fans, even to this day, the Indian football supporters are waiting eagerly for their favorite franchisees to sign these players. In times like these, it is very exciting and moreover propitious, to be a football fan in India.