FIFA World Cup winners who lit up Hero ISL

The grandest stage of world football and the greatest spectacle of the year is here. After four years, the time has come again where football fans worldwide would cheer for their favourite global superstars and don jerseys of their favourite teams, as the action shifts to Russia for the FIFA World Cup 2018.

Winning the World Cup remains the pinnacle of any footballer’s career and has made stars of genuine talents over the years. The Hero Indian Super League (ISL) in its four years of existence has also witnessed some of the biggest players donning the club jerseys and showcasing their class in front of the national audience.

Here we take a look at the lucky few who not only had the honour of representing their country at the world stage, but went on to become the eventual champions.

ROBERTO CARLOS
Edition: 2002 | Country: Brazil

Arguably the greatest left-back of all times, Roberto Carlos was a part of the renowned Brazil squad which would go on to win the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea. The Brazilian legend has made a total of 17 appearances over three campaigns - 1998, 2002 and 2006. Blessed with frightening pace, Carlos was known for his tough tackling and ferocious shooting.

The World Cup winner featured for the Delhi Dynamos FC as a Player-Manager during the 2015 season of the Hero ISL. Under his stewardship, Delhi made it all the way to the semi-finals of the tournament before ultimately losing out to FC Goa.

ROBERT PIRES
Edition: 1998 | Country: France

One of the most technically gifted French players of the modern era, Robert Pries was part of France’s golden generation which won the 1998 FIFA World Cup. The Frenchman played a total of three games during France’s World Cup-winning campaign and was a solid figure in the middle of the field, holding the flow of the game.

Pires was the marquee signing for FC Goa during the inaugural season of the Hero ISL in 2014 and took the team to the semi-finals, while leading from the front. 

DAVID TREZEGUET
Edition: 1998 | Country: France

The French striker was another member of the 1998 World Cup winning side along with the likes of Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Zinedine Zidane. Trezeguet made a total of 12 appearances in three World Cup campaigns, scoring one goal in the 1998 tournament. The legendary striker could have added a second World Cup medal in 2006, but his side ultimately lost to Italy in the Finals.

The former Juventus marksman joined FC Pune City for the inaugural Hero Indian Super League season in 2014. Trezeguet made a huge impact during his lone season with Pune, scoring two goals in eight appearances.

ALESSANDRO DEL PIERO
Edition: 2006 | Country: Italy

Alessandro Del Piero will fondly be remembered as a true Italy great and one of the most talented players in Serie A history. The lethal forward was one of the major contributors during Italy’s 2006 World Cup triumph, scoring the winner in the semi-finals against Germany before slotting home a nerve-wracking penalty during the shootout in the Final against France.

The Italian legend was Delhi Dynamos’ marquee player during the inaugural season of the Hero ISL, making a total of 10 appearances for the club. Though the club did not taste much success, Piero made a huge impact in the league’s recognition.

MARCO MATERAZZI
Edition: 2006 | Country: Italy

Despite being involved in one of the most infamous incidents in World Cup history when he was head-butted by Zidane in the middle of the field, Materazzi will be remembered for his equaliser against France during the 2006 World Cup final, which was ultimately won by Italy. The defender has five World Cup caps and two goals to his name.

Materazzi joined Chennaiyin FC during the inaugural season of the Hero ISL. After spending a year with the side as a player-cum-coach, Materazzi took to being a full-time coach for the Marina Machans. He went on to win the 2015 Hero ISL campaign before ultimately stepping down a year later.

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