Indian football continues evolving with the sport gaining more fans across the country. While cricket remains the national sport, millions of fans follow both local and international football contests. When talking of Indian football today, it’s hard not to mention Mumbai City FC. The professional football club based in Mumbai has continued making a significant impact on the Indian Super League.
Since formation in 2014, the team has managed to reach playoffs in the first three seasons. This has happened on the backdrop of shrewd signings that have excited local football. This post looks at some of these high-profile signings and amazing Mumbai City FC players who have shaped the team over the years.
The mention of Freddie Ljungberg takes every football fan back to the Emirates where the Swedish superstar excelled as a key player. Ljungberg was influential in Arsene Wenger’s team that won winning two Premier League titles and three FA Cups for the club.
Coming from retirement, he made an appearance for Mumbai City FC in the inaugural season of the ISL in 2014. His presence was an inspiration for many of the local players who turned out for the team.
Nicolas Anelka is renowned for his impressive footballing career at Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Real Madrid. He also has a reputation for his football journey that has taken him across multiple countries. In the inaugural season of ISL, Anelka landed at Mumbai City FC and later became player-manager in 2015.
You cannot talk of Mumbai City FC without mentioning Diego Forlan. The Uruguayan is renowned for his personal success at the 2010 World Cup where he finished as joint top scorer with five goals. Forlan also won the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player.
He later played for Manchester United, Villarreal, Atlético Madrid, Inter Milan and Internacional among other clubs. His journey brought him to Mumbai, and he was a big influence leading the team to the playoffs.
The Congolese might have stayed for a single season here but his impact was hard to miss. The versatile midfielder was a sight to behold on the right wing and his pace was superb. He scored three goals in 18 appearances and ranks among the best players to don the Mumbai City FC jersey.
Manuel Friedrich is an icon in German football. When he came out of retirement to play for the new team, there was anticipation that the defender would revolutionise the team. He had a decent impact in all 14 games and even scored a goal.
The Portuguese midfielder formed at Porto is a veteran of the Primeira Liga but has also played in France, Greece and Croatia. His time at Mumbai City has helped the team grow especially due to his pinpoint accuracy to pass the ball. He has a solid reputation in the midfield, and this has seen him become an influential figure in the first team.
The Senegalese striker joined the team in the 2018-19 ISL season. In his first season, Sougou was the top scorer for his team with 12 goals in 18 appearances. In the league, he was behind only the highest goal scorer of the season, Ferran Corominas.
As football in India continues its revival, Mumbai City FC will have a place in history for bringing some influential international superstars. These players not only add value to the team but also create interest in the sport locally.