Here are the ten Best Defenders in ISL of all time…
“Attack wins you games, defense wins you titles,” said Sir Alex Ferguson, one of the greatest managers in the world. Some of the best teams in the world have won titles just by keeping their heads in the game defensively. The Indian Super League has also witnessed some great defensive performances. So let’s take a look at the top 10 best defenders in ISL.
10Seriton Fernandes – 179 tackles, 49 interceptions
Seriton Fernandes, a Goa-born footballer, has been a part of the FC Goa squad since the 2017 season. Since then, he has made a total of 225 defensive contributions for the Gaurs. He has made 179 tackles and 49 interceptions and ranks no.10 on our list of best defenders in ISL.
9Jose Luis Espinosa Aarroyo – 136 tackles, 102 interceptions
Jose Arroyo aka Tiri joined ATK in the 2015 season. He was involved in their 2nd title-winning campaign in the 2016 season. He then joined Jamshedpur FC in the 2017 season and has been a Steelers player for the last 2 seasons. Since 2015, Tiri has since been involved in 136 tackles and 102 interceptions. He has also been made a staggering 538 clearances.
8 Rahul Bheke – 170 tackles, 70 interceptions
Rahul Bheke, the Mumbai-born defender, joined FC Pune City to make his ISL debut in the 2015 season. He has come a long way since then. Joining Bengaluru FC in their first ISL season in 2017-2018, Bheke was in tremendous form in that season. He made a total of 53 tackles, 20 interceptions and 60 clearances. Since then he has improved a lot and has even played for India. The footballer has made a total of 173 tackles, 70 interceptions and 244 clearances and is thus ranked 8th in the list of best defenders in the ISL.
7Harmanjot Khabra – 150 tackles 101 interceptions
Harmanjot Khabra was an integral part of the title-winning teams of Chennaiyin FC and Bengaluru FC. He played for Chennaiyin for 3 seasons till 2016 and won the title with them in 2015. He was later picked up by Bengaluru FC in their debut season. The last season in which the Blues won the title, was his best season in the ISL so far. Making 35 tackles, 22 interceptions and 36 clearances.
Having accumulated a total of 150 tackles, 101 interceptions and 121 clearances since his debut, Harmanjot is ranked 7th in our list of best defenders in ISL.
6Adil Khan – 197 tackles, 55 interceptions
Adil Khan is a versatile player. In his ISL career so far, he has made 197 tackles. He can be deployed as a centre-back and can play as a defensive midfielder as well. Khan was recalled to the Indian team as well, and rescued a crucial point for the Blue Tigers in their World Cup Qualification match against Bangladesh. He had a magnificent 2018-2019 campaign in which he made 91 tackles, 17 interceptions and 47 clearances. He will be a regular starter for his new club Hyderabad FC and will be looking to move up the list as he is currently ranked 6th in the list of the best defenders in ISL.
5Sandesh Jhingan – 194 tackles, 93 interceptions
Sandesh Jhingan’s emergence in the ISL was one of the best things to happen to Indian football. He has been a one-club player, playing for Kerala Blasters FC since the first season. However, Sandesh is out for the 2019-2020 season due to an injury, which shouldn’t overshadow his insane stats from the previous seasons.
Jhingan has a total of 194 tackles, 93 interceptions and 502 clearances for the Blasters. The 2017-2018 season was the best of his ISL career so far in which he had 50 tackles, 14 interceptions and 124 clearances. He will be missed by his club in the ongoing season, even then he makes it to the no.5 spot of the list of best defenders in ISL.
4Ahmed Jahouh – 243 tackles 69 interceptions
Ahmed Jahouh, the Moroccan defensive midfielder has been a part of the FC Goa squad since the 2017 season. In the 2 years, he has been playing for the Gaurs, he has been fantastic. In his debut season, Ahmed registered 105 tackles, 30 interceptions and 30 clearances. Bettering his previous year’s stats he then registered 126 tackles, 33 interceptions and 48 clearances. With a total of 243 tackles, he comes at no.4 spot in the list of best defenders in the ISL.
3Narayan Das – 161 tackles, 133 interceptions
Narayan Das has been playing regularly in the ISL since 2014. He played the first and second season for the Gaurs before joining FC Pune City in the following season. He was brought back in the 2017-2018 season and reached the semis with them. Narayan then joined Delhi Dynamos in their last ever season in the ISL. He was retained for the next season in which the Dynamos were re-branded to Odisha FC.
In 6 seasons, he has been consistent throughout maintaining similar stats. He has registered a total of 161 tackles, 133 interceptions and 280 clearances earning himself the no.3 spot in our list of 10 best defenders in the ISL.
2Shauvik Chakrabarty – 282 tackles, 128 interceptions
Sauvik Chakrabarti made his ISL debut for Delhi Dynamos. He played 3 seasons for the Dynamos before moving to Jamshedpur FC in the 2017-2018 season. His switch to Mumbai City FC in the following season was his best of his career so far in which he made 115 clearances, 68 tackles and 36 interceptions.
Having contributed a total of 282 tackles, 128 interceptions and 287 clearances, Sauvik is in the list as the 2nd best defender to play in the ISL.
1Lucian Goian – 252 tackles, 102 interceptions
Lucian Goian is arguably the best defender to have ever played in ISL. The footballer played for Mumbai City FC from 2016 till the 2018-2019 season. His best performance for the Islanders came in the last season, in which he made 187 clearances, 82 tackles and 33 interceptions.
The Romanian defender has registered 252 tackles, 102 interceptions and 406 clearances in the ISL so far. He moved to Chennaiyin FC in the 2019-2020 season in a rebuild of their defensive back-line. His staggering overall stats have ranked him no.1 in the list of the best defenders in ISL.