No squad in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) have the ability to drive fear into the hearts of their opponents quite like Chennaiyin FC’s. Coach Marco Materazzi’sroster accommodates some of the meanest, most talented and prolific players, that the league has seen thus far.
The spine of Chennaiyin FC is built around four of the most experienced defenders in global football – AlessandroNesta, Marco Materazzi, Mikael Silvestre and Bernard Mendy. Both Nesta and Materazzi have been part of the 2006 World Cup winning Italian squad.
The former has been named in the Top 125 greatest living footballers, while the latter has been highly regarded by some of the best coaches of the modern era, like Jose Mourinho and Marcello Lippi. Both footballers possess an imposing presence on the pitch and a ruthless streak. Their tactical knowledge and reading of the game is far superior to most defenders in the ISL.
Meanwhile, Silvestre has played for some of the best club sides in Europe. The Frenchman plied his trade for Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal and Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United and is often regarded as a hard worker in defence.
Mendy, unlike the other three, is known for his blistering burst of pace. The 33-year-old, who used to play for French giants Paris Saint-Germain, had already left his mark on Chennai’s next opponents, Kerala, when he scored a stunning overhead kick. The goal went viral around the world, and was a big boost to brand ISL.
While the spine of the team is scary enough for opponents, the midfield and attack possess the punch to knock opponents out. Chennaiyin flaunts experience, talent and goal-scoring prowess in the form of Elano Blumer, Eric Djemba-Djemba, BojanDjordjic and Jean-Eudes Maurice in the final third of the pitch.
Elano has been a revelation for Chennai. The midfielder has worked wonders in linking midfield with attack, whilst convertinggoal-scoring responsibilities. The Brazilian wonder, who used to play for Manchester City, has showcased his talents to pure perfection and has often enacted Andrea Pirlo’s dead-ball heroics in the ISL. Elanoalso leads the league’s goal-scoring chart with eight goals, even though he has missed a large chunk of Chennai’s games due to injury.
Unlike Elano who is loaded with flair, Djordjic and Djemba-Djemba are known for their hardworking abilities. The two have plied their trade for Manchester United and have been a key link in Chennaiyin’s midfield. Maurice is as clinical as strikers come. The French-born Haitian striker has 10 goals in 15 appearances for Haiti, and has plied his trade with PSG as well. Although he has scored only a single goal in the ISL so far, his tireless pressing makes him a pest for the opposition.
With the Indian Super League (ISL) entering its business end, these high-profile players could lead the way in making Chennai ISL’s first ever champion.