2014 saw the introduction of the Indian Super League (ISL) and it was something that was much-needed for the sport in the country.
Football had always been extremely popular with Indian audiences, with many flocking to television screens to watch matches in some of Europe’s top leagues to take place.
In 2014, India decided to do something about it and provided fans with the ISL to try and attract audiences to their own game and it certainly appeared to prove successful as many have taken to placing wagers on Indian football betting markets that have become available. It has emerged as a top league in some corners of the world and has seen a host of top footballers join teams, further enhancing the appeal of the game within the country.
Some of the talent that has helped further enhance the appeal and the global audience that can be seen viewing the ISL from all sections of the world have played at the highest levels of the game and have even been able to win the top prizes.
Indeed, there have been nine FIFA World Cup winners to have plied their trade in the ISL at various points throughout their careers; admittedly with the vast majority having made appearances towards the end of their professional playing days.
Nonetheless, it provided a stage for them to shine and gave many audiences the chance to see them feature for the last time, or even the first time as a new generation of fans within India will have certainly been attracted.
There have been three individuals from the Italy side to have won the FIFA World Cup in 2006, whilst there were two men from the 2010 winners, Spain; two from the Brazil side who won in 2002 and two men from the France side that won the 1998 edition of the competition.
Alessandro Nesta, Alessandro Del Piero and Marco Materazzi all made the move to the ISL at various points of their careers.
Nesta would feature for Chennaiyin FC in 2014 as he made the switch from America’s MLS, however he featured in just three matches. He joined the club due to Materazzi’s appointment as player-manager in 2014 as well. He featured seven times before taking the managerial role up on a full-time basis, but decided to leave a season later.
Del Piero would join Delhi Dynamos in the inaugural season and would go on to make 10 appearances and score one goal in his sole campaign.
Roberto Carlos and Lucio both featured in the ISL although they only made brief appearances. Arguably one of the best left-backs of all time, Roberto Carlos was named player-manager in 2015 for the Delhi Dynamos in 2015, but played just three games and left the season after.
Lucio played for FC Goa in the same year and would make his stay in India a little longer than some of his fellow FIFA World Cup winners, as he would remain for two seasons and play a total of 19 games.
Joan Capdevilla and Carlos Marchena were both a part of the Spain squad that won the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Capdevilla would turn out for Northeast United in 2014 and make 12 appearances before leaving for Europe once again, whereas Marchena would only feature once for Kerala Blasters in 2015 before leaving two weeks later for personal reasons.
David Trezeguet and Robert Pires are the two individuals from the France 1998 winning side. Neither men made it off the bench in the final, though. The striker would turn out for FC Pune City after signing in 2014 and would go on to make 9 appearances before retiring in 2015. Pires joined FC Goa in 2014 and would go on to make eight appearances before being released in 2015.