Fox in the box: A look at the Golden Boot winners in every Hero ISL season
Scoring goals might sound simple, but consistently finding the back of the net for an entire season requires immense dedication, effort, discipline, and determination, and this is what separates the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) Golden Boot winners from the rest of the goalscorers in the league.
Awarded to the top goalscorer in each season, the Golden Boot is widely cherished as the ultimate, elusive, and distinctive merit for a goalscorer. Over the years, the Hero ISL has witnessed quite the drama, camaraderie, and intensity in the race for the Golden Boot.
Here’s a look at all the Golden Boot winners in Hero ISL so far:
2014 - Elano Blumer (Chennaiyin FC) - 8 goals in 11 matches
The 2010 FIFA World Cup star was an instant hit in the inaugural edition of the Hero ISL, having guided Chennaiyin FC to the semi-final with some sensational football along the way. With eight strikes in 11 matches, Elano played a pivotal role in Marina Machans’ campaign, as they finished at the top spot in the league table. After a two-year stint in the Hero ISL, Elano parted ways with the club after the 2016 edition.
2015 - Stiven Mendoza (Chennaiyin FC) - 13 goals in 16 matches
It was yet another player from Chennaiyin FC that lit up the Hero ISL stage. Stiven Mendoza took the game to the next level as he struck 13 times in 16 matches to steer Chennaiyin FC to their first-ever Hero ISL title win. The Colombian sniper scored a stoppage-time goal in the final against FC Goa to script the one of the most dramatic end to a Hero ISL season. Taking a similar route as his teammate Elano, Mendoza left the club after the 2016 edition.
2016 - Marcelo Pereira (Delhi Dynamos FC) - 10 goals in 15 matches
Popularly known as Marcelinho, the Brazilian talisman produced magic in his debut Hero ISL season, striking 10 times for the then Delhi Dynamos FC besides chipping in five assists as well, helping his team qualify for the semi-finals for their second consecutive season. His efforts didn’t go unnoticed as his goalscoring exploits as a versatile forward received plentiful acclaim in the league from managers, pundits, and players too.
2017/18 - Ferran Corominas (FC Goa) - 18 goals in 20 matches
Corominas became an instant fan favourite among the Gaurs after he put up a scintillating show with a staggering 18 goals in his debut season, which till date, stands as the most goals scored by any player in a single Hero ISL season alongside Bartholomew Ogbeche. Coro fell right in place and was in sync under the system of new manager Sergio Lobera. Spearheading the FC Goa attack, the Spanish forward effortlessly shipped in goals and made quite a name for himself not just at the Goan club but also in the Hero ISL.
2018/19 - Ferran Corominas (FC Goa) - 16 goals in 20 matches
Galloping in the Hero ISL with already one Golden Boot to his name, Coro found it plain sailing to add another one in the bag, this time with 16 goals in the season. Being the only player to win back-to-back Golden Boots in the Hero ISL till date, the Spaniard continued to shimmer in the Goan colours, this time manoeuvring his team to their second-ever Hero ISL final. The Spaniard ended his tenure in the following season as one of the top scorers in the league with 48 goals to his name and left as an FC Goa legend.
2019/20 - Nerijus Valskis (Chennaiyin FC) - 15 goals in 16 matches
Arguably the most intense and closely-contested race for Golden Boot in the history of the Hero ISL which concluded with Chennaiyin FC striker Nerijus Valskis returning the crown back to the Marina Machans for the 2019-20 season. A three-legged race followed between Nerijus Valskis, Roy Krishna, and Bartholomew Ogbeche - all tied at 15 goals at the end of the season.
But according to the official Hero ISL rulebook followed for that season, if two or more players are tied for goals scored at the end of the season, the weightage will fall on the assists provided by the respective players. And if the respective players tie on both goals as well as assists, then the player having lesser minutes claims the honour.
In this scenario, Ogbeche departed out of the race having just one assist to his name while Valskis and Krishna were both tied at 15 goals and six assists, with the former claiming the Golden Boot having played a game less than Krishna - all determined on the last day of the season, in the Hero ISL 2019-20 final where Valskis scored a goal and Roy Krishna provided an assist.
2020-21 - Igor Angulo (FC Goa) - 14 goals in 21 matches
Angulo had a major influence for the Gaurs in the 2020-21 campaign, the forward played a decisive role with his 14 goals in the season. The Spaniard shared his goal tally with ATK Mohun Bagan’s Roy Krishna till the last day of the season, with the latter competing for the coveted award in the Hero ISL 2020-21 final.
As the rules were rectified, if two or more players shared the same number of goals scored, the player with lesser played minutes would be awarded the Golden Boot, which in this case was claimed by Angulo, having played two games less than his ATK Mohun Bagan counterpart.
2021/22 - Bartholomew Ogbeche (Hyderabad FC) - 18 goals in 20 matches
A veteran in the Hero ISL, Bartholomew Ogbeche exploded under Hyderabad FC manager Manuel Marquez. Not only did the Nigerian assert dominance in the league with his 18 goals, but he established himself as the all-time top scorer in the Hero ISL, netting 53 goals in 77 matches, surpassing Ferran Corominas and Sunil Chhetri while doing so.
With an astonishing 18 goals in 20 games, coming clutch in crucial moments and turning the tide towards his team, the Nigerian proved to be an unmatchable asset in Hyderabad FC’s title-winning campaign. Being the only player, alongside Coro, to score the most goals in a single Hero ISL season, the striker proved his hunger for goals and outnumbered his competitors while being 37 years old.