From which clubs have Indian male footballers moved overseas to play?

Sandesh Jhingan is the latest Indian male footballer to try his luck in Europe.

ATK Mohun Bagan’s star defender Sandesh Jhingan has joined Croatian First Division Football League side HNK Sibenik for the upcoming 2021/22 season. The 28-year-old defender will become the latest Indian footballer to play professionally in Europe. 

The first Indian player to play for a European club was Mohammed Salim who left Mohammedan Sporting to play for Scottish giants Celtic in 1936. Salim played two matches for Celtic as a trial with the club and had impressed the Celtic management who wanted him to offer a professional contract but unfortunately, he became homesick and decided to return.

In 1999, Bhaichung Bhutia became the first Indian male footballer to sign for a European club when he joined English third division club Bury FC. He went to England after at East Bengal from 1997 to 1999.

ATK Mohun Bagan vs Odisha, Sandesh Jhingan, Manuel Ownu

Other notable players who have played club football outside the country are Bengaluru FC duo Sunil Chhetri and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

Chhetri was at Dempo when he got an offer to join MLS side Kansas City Wizards in 2010. The Indian striker was on a two-year deal with the Goan giants but he left them midway into the season when he got a lucrative offer from the US. Gurpreet Sandhu joined Norwegian top-tier club Stabaek in 2014 after his four-year association with East Bengal ended.

Here we take a look at the Indian clubs from where some of the prominent male Indian footballers went abroad to ply their trade.

From which Indian clubs have these star players moved abroad?

Player From (club) To (club) Division Year
Mohammed Salim Mohammedan Sporting Celtic Scotland top division 1936
Bhaichung Bhutia East Bengal Bury FC England third division 1999
Bhaichung Bhutia Mohun Bagan Perak FA Malaysia top division 2003
Bhaichung Bhutia East Bengal Selangor MK Land Malaysia second division 2005
Sunil Chhetri Dempo Kansas City Wizards USA top division 2010
Sunil Chhetri Mohun Bagan Sporting CP B Portugal second division 2012
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu East Bengal Stabaek Norway top division 2014
Romeo Fernandes FC Goa Atletico Paranaense Brazil top division 2015
Sandesh Jhingan  ATK Mohun Bagan HNK Sibenik Croatia top division 2021


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