Tackling composes a significant aspect of football and is perhaps an underrated art. While goals might help you win games, tackles, the right ones at the crucial moments, help you defend those wins, be it disrupting the opponent’s play or getting back possession.

Any team requires tacklers, be it a disciplined one - who makes the right tackles at vital junctures of the game - or a dirty one - who cleans up the mess so as to not concede the goal. The Hero ISL has witnessed a rich profusion of tackles being thrown about by players.

Let’s take a look at the players who gave in their blood and sweat and swayed the game their way. Here are the players who have made the most tackles in the history of the Hero ISL:

Ahmed Jahouh (Mumbai City FC) - 686 tackles

The Moroccan got onto the scene swiftly in his debut Hero ISL season, proving to be a vital cog in the midfield department - be it offence or defence. The midfielder made an astonishing 105 tackles, highest in the league during the 2017-18 campaign while representing FC Goa. What followed was sheer consistency as the numbers went up the ladder for Jahouh in the following season as he topped the charts once again with 126 tackles, followed by 182 tackles in the 2019-20 season.

Jahouh continued to shimmer in a similar manner after signing for Mumbai City FC, proving to be a huge asset for the Islanders’ historic double title-winning campaign. The midfielders not only made the most tackles (173) but had the second-most assists for his side. The latest Hero ISL 2021-22 season witnessed Jahouh providing yet another century of tackles as he finished the season with 100 tackles, second only to Bruno Silva of Bengaluru FC leading with 104 tackles, not topping the charts for the first time in his ISL career. Jahouh still leads the charts while playing the least number of games amongst the top 10 active tacklers.

Sauvik Chakrabarti (Hyderabad FC) - 389 tackles

The Hero ISL 2021-22 winner started his career with Delhi Dynamos FC (now defunct) in the inaugural season in 2014. Chakrabarti moved up the ranks in the team after some quality performances with the Lions, helping them reach the top four in the 2015 as well as the 2016 season, where the midfielder made 76 tackles, second best in the league, four less than Mumbai City FC defender Lucian Goian.

In the following two seasons, Chakrabarti plied his trade for Jamshedpur FC and Mumbai City FC, where he was a starter but couldn’t match his numbers of the 2016 season, but continued to shape the midfield in his respective teams. The midfielder made a move to the Manuel Marquez-led Hyderabad side in the latter half of 2020-21 campaign where he made 25 tackles in seven games, cementing his place as a starter in the 2021-22 season where he made 56 tackles in 16 games in their title-winning campaign.

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Lenny Rodrigues (ATK Mohun Bagan) - 377 tackles

A veteran in the Hero ISL, Rodrigues commenced his journey with FC Pune City (now defunct), notching up 73 tackles in the three seasons he spent with them. Following a successful stint with the Stallions, the midfielder was roped in by Bengaluru FC in the 2017-18 season where he played a pivotal role with 41 tackles, fourth-highest in the club, as the Blues reached the Hero ISL final.

Rodrigues left Bengaluru FC for the Sergio Lobera-led FC Goa side in the 2018-19 season where he reaped success with 75 tackles, third-highest at the club as the Gaurs reached the Hero ISL final. The midfielder renewed another season with the club and won the Hero ISL League Winners’ Shield and proved to be a highly influential player in the team with 87 tackles before signing a new contract with ATK Mohun Bagan in the following season where the midfielder played a critical role and reached yet another Hero ISL final, racking up 69 tackles and 32 tackles in the subsequent season.

Seriton Fernandes (FC Goa) - 346 tackles

The right-back fuelled firepower in his debut season with FC Goa. Fernandes made 73 tackles, fifth-highest in the league, turning out to be a crucial asset for the Gaurs. The defender continued to dazzle in the following seasons as he cemented his place as the first-choice right-back for the Goan side, making 88 tackles in the 2018-19 season followed by 95 tackles in the 2019-20 season, helping them secure the League Winners’ Shield.

While the numbers might have seen a decline but Fernandes continued to be an influential player in the team in the 2020-21 season as well as the 2021-22 season. The defender put up 90 tackles across both the seasons as the Gaurs finished fourth and ninth respectively.

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Pritam Kotal (ATK Mohun Bagan) - 335 tackles

Another veteran in the Hero ISL, Kotal made his name as one of the up and coming defenders in the league. The 28-year-old made his debut with FC Pune City (now defunct), being a handful and putting up 17 tackles in that season. After a short-lived spell of just two matches in 2015, Kotal made a move to ATK in 2016, where the defender showed his versatility and struck up 33 titles as his side won the title in that season.

Since then, Kotal developed into not just a great tackler but a great defender, punching way above his weight. The numbers just kept on increasing, from 27 tackles in 2017-18 to 75 tackles in 2020-21, Kotal’s personal best tally, helping his side ATK Mohun Bagan reach their first-ever Hero ISL final.