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Top 10 Best Football Players In India Of All Time

You may think that only cricket is the most loved sport in India. If you think that, you are totally wrong. That’s because, in recent years, the craze for other sports has grown significantly in the country, especially for football. And that’s only because now there are many famous football players who are rising from India and showing their true talent when representing India on the international stage.

Throughout the history of football in India, there have been many cool, talented, and key football players that not a lot of people know about. You may know about the young, talented, and most recent football players, but what about the others who have been inspirations for many in the country? Well, today’s post is all about just that. Here we will be going over the list of the top 10 best football players in India of all time. So if this is something that intrigues you the most, we’d advise you to keep on reading. Here we go.

List of Best Football Players In India Ever

1. Bhaichung Bhutia

Bhaichung Bhutia

Bhaichung Bhutia is not just any former pro footballer, he’s one of the finest the country has ever produced! When it came to ball control, dribbling, and shooting, Bhutia was the real deal. Add his agility, speed, and quick reflexes to the mix and you had a scoring machine on your hands. Bhutia didn’t just shine domestically, he became a global sensation, representing India in countless competitions. Fun fact, he was the first Indian footballer to rack up over 100 international matches! Thanks to his exceptional leadership and valuable contributions, India bagged the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup, paving the way to the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. Not to forget, Bhutia was also a goal-scoring machine, with a record to impress for both club and country. And it wasn’t just about quantity, Bhutia had a knack for scoring when it mattered most.

2. Sunil Chhetri

Sunil Chhetri

Next on the list is Sunil Chhetri, another pro footballer from India. This pro has been the face of Indian football for years, shining in both the national team and various club sides. His debut in 2005 kicked off a remarkable journey and he quickly took the crown as the Indian national team’s all-time leading goal scorer. Chhetri’s knack for sending the ball home has been a driving force in India’s international successes. Apart from being an ace player, Chhetri is a born leader. His charisma on and off the pitch has uplifted his teammates time and again, making him a true role model. Besides his outstanding performances, Chhetri has been an ardent advocate for the sport in India, inspiring a new wave of football enthusiasts.

3. PK Banerjee

PK Banerjee

PK Banerjee was a master forward, revered for his agility, skill, and goal-scoring flair. His career with the Indian national team, from 1955 to 1967, was marked by landmark moments and unforgettable international tourneys. Banerjee’s list of accolades runs deep, with a highlight being a part of the gold-winning team at the 1962 Asian Games, a defining moment in Indian football. He also led India to the Olympic semifinals in 1956 and 1960, further cementing his legacy. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, he later became a successful coach. Whether guiding clubs to domestic glory or serving as the coach of the national team, Banerjee proved time and again why he’s one of the best in this sport.

4. Chuni Goswami

Chuni Goswami

Meet Subimal “Chuni” Goswami, a name that rings a bell in every Indian football enthusiast’s heart. No wonder this guy’s considered one of the greats in Indian football’s narrative. He made his name as a forward, showing off his fantastic flair, quickness, and adaptability. Goswami was the proud captain of our 1962 Asian Games gold medalists in Jakarta and also led the squad to victory in the Merdeka Cup of 1963 in Malaysia. With superb dribbling, precise passing, and a killer sense of positioning, he could fill in as a forward, winger, or attacking midfielder. Add to this his extraordinary leadership, and you have a real gem who propelled both the Indian national team and Mohun Bagan to victories galore.

5. Tulsidas Balaram

Tulsidas Balaram

Here’s another football pro from the 1950s and 1960s, Tulsidas Balaram. A lethal striker, Balaram’s career is dotted with incredible feats, including representing India in the Asian Games and the Asian Cup. He was part of our golden crew that grabbed the top spot at the 1962 Asian Games. But that’s not all, Balaram was a superstar in Kolkata, India’s football hub, playing for titans like Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. His reputation as a goal machine speaks volumes about his exceptional skill. Whether it was dribbling, ball control, or passing, Balaram was always on top of his game, scoring not just for himself but setting up his teammates as well.

6. Jarnail Singh

Jarnail Singh

Jarnail Singh, the master of defense in Indian football history, was a force to reckon with during the 1950s and 1960s. His strength, agility, and commanding presence as a center-back were enough to make any forward break into a sweat. From nifty tackling to perfect positioning, he had it all, making it a real chore for opponents to get past him. A born leader, Singh’s grit and work ethic spurred on his teammates. And oh boy, did this man shine in India’s 1962 Asian Games golden run! Post-retirement, he continued to shape Indian football, sharing his wisdom and experience as a coach and manager.

7. Peter Thangaraj

Peter Thangaraj


Next up, Peter Thangaraj, a name that shines brightly in the hall of fame of Indian football, is considered one of the greatest goalkeepers. Thangaraj had the perfect mix of reflexes, agility, and shot-stopping skills, making him a nightmare for any striker. When he was on the field, literally everyone was his fan, no matter whether you were just a watcher, teammate, or even opponent. His stellar performances in the Asian Games and the Merdeka Cup earned him the coveted Arjuna Award in 1967, a testament to his contributions to Indian football.

8. IM Vijayan

IM Vijayan

Inivalappil Mani Vijayan, known to fans as IM Vijayan, is another gem in Indian football history. Vijayan dominated the field from 1992 to 2003, with his partnership with Bhaichung Bhutia standing out. Blessed with extraordinary skill, agility, and technical prowess, he was a wizard with the ball, creating scoring opportunities left, right, and center. His versatile playstyle, goal-scoring instinct, and consistent performances over a decade underline his professional ethos and dedication.

9. Subrata Paul

Subrata Paul

Since his debut in 2007, Paul has donned the Indian jersey numerous times, leaving a mark on the AFC Asian Cup, SAFF Championship, and Nehru Cup. His consistency, work ethic, and dedication make him an ideal role model for budding footballers, especially goalkeepers, in India. The achievements of Subrata Paul will always be remembered and appreciated among the true fans of football in India.

10. Sailen Manna

Sailen Manna

Last but not least, Sailen Manna is another glittering star in the constellation of Indian football. Known for his leadership and defensive prowess, Manna ruled the Calcutta Football League, leading Mohun Bagan to multiple victories. He was a rock-solid defender, with a knack for strong tackling, superior positioning, and the ability to read the game like a book. His legacy was crowned with one of India’s highest civilian honors, the Padma Shri in 1971, and the FIFA Order of Merit in 2004, reflecting the imprint he left on the beautiful game.


There you have it. Now you know which are the top players who have pioneered the passion for football in the country. All in all, these are the key figures who have been instrumental in popularizing football in India at such a large scale.


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