The significance of midfielders in modern football cannot be undermined. Whether it's the attacking midfielders striving to influence the final third or the central and defensive midfielders dictating the pace of the game, matches often hinge on midfield battles. 

In the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 season, a multitude of midfield talents emerged, who left a lasting impression in the league. These players not only became indispensable assets for their respective teams but also showcased remarkable growth in their individual performances, whether in offensive creativity or defensive solidity.

As Phase 1 of the Fans’ Team of the Season voting drew to a close on Monday, spotlight now shifts to the midfielders. Phase 2 of the voting commences on Tuesday, offering fans the opportunity to select four midfielders, including two central midfielders, one left and right midfielder each, who will feature in the eventual 4-3-3 formation. The voting for Phase 2 will run until Thursday, allowing fans to have their say in shaping the ultimate lineup.

With that, here are our nominees in midfield for the Fans’ Team of the Season.

Fans' Right Midfielders of the Season: 

Rafael Crivellaro

Renowned for his creativity and vision, Crivellaro served as the primary playmaker for Chennaiyin FC, contributing assists and crucial goals throughout the season. His brilliance helped Chennaiyin FC secure a playoff spot after three seasons. 

Crivellaro emerged as the team's leading goal contributor and topped the charts for chances created within the side. His tally of seven assists were surpassed only by Punjab FC’s Madih Talal. 

Imran Khan

Jamshedpur FC winger Imran Khan found his form under head coach Khalid Jamil after a quiet start to the season. Khan showcased his speed and skill on the flanks, creating numerous scoring opportunities for his team. His ability to beat defenders and deliver accurate crosses contributed significantly to Jamshedpur FC's attack. Khan finished the season with two goals and two assists, with both goals coming under Jamil.

Madih Talal

In his debut ISL season, Madih Talal played a pivotal role in Punjab FC’s campaign, where the Shers narrowly missed out on playoff qualification. Beyond his creative presence in midfield, Talal displayed a keen eye for goal, emerging as the highest goal contributor for Staikos Vergetis’ side. Talal topped the charts for assists, becoming the only player to record double-digit scores in that category this season. 

Jithin MS

Winger Jithin MS utilised his pace and dribbling skills to create scoring opportunities and provide width in attack for his team. Enjoying his most successful season in terms of goal contributions, the Kerala-born winger netted four goals and provided three assists throughout the campaign.

Nestor Albiach

Versatile forward Nestor Albiach played a crucial role in Juan Pedro Benali’s attacking setup, showcasing his goal-scoring prowess and ability to create opportunities for his teammates. Albiach was the team's joint-top scorer alongside Tomi Juric and Parthib Gogoi and no player created more chances for the side than the Spaniard. 

Fans' Centre Midfielder 1 of the Season: 

Ahmed Jahouh

Renowned for his passing range and technical quality, Jahouh played a central role in orchestrating Odisha FC's buildup play and maintaining possession in midfield. His remarkable ability to dictate the tempo of the game and execute precise passes set him apart as one of the league's premier midfielders. His staggering tally of 1367 successful passes was unmatched, with no player in the league registering more than 1000 successful passes. 

Reuniting with head coach Lobera, Jahouh showcased his class, helping Odisha FC reach the semi-finals for the first time. His contributions went beyond passing, as he led his team in chances created, tackles, and interceptions, highlighting his influence in both offensive and defensive phases of the game.

Yoell van Nieff

Van Nieff showcased his technical ability and set-piece expertise, creating crucial chances for his team from open play and from dead-ball situations. He created the second most chances for the team, behind Lallianzuala Chhangte while contributing a goal and two assists while playing in a deeper role.  

While the Dutchman didn’t feature in the ISL final, where Mumbai City FC beat Mohun Bagan SG to lift the Cup, he was instrumental to their success and his brilliant performances under the radar. 

Mohammed Ali Bemammer 

Bemammer anchored the NorthEast United FC midfield with his combative style of play, breaking up opposition attacks and providing cover for his defence. 

He stood out in his defensive tasks registering the most amount of successful interceptions and tackles for the team while also making the most successful passes, proving to be crucial to the team’s build up.

Carl McHugh

McHugh proved to be the crucial link between FC Goa’s attack and defence and the new signing became an important member for the team under head coach Manolo Marquez, reaching the final. 

Besides registering crucial tackles and interceptions for the team, he was the player that initiated most of their attacks and was crucial to Marquez’s system of building from the back, evident by the fact that he registered the most successful passes for FC Goa. 

Connor Shields 

Initially deployed as a striker for Chennaiyin FC, Shields showcased his versatility by transitioning to a box-to-box midfielder as the season progressed. Under head coach Owen Coyle's guidance, Shields thrived in his new role, demonstrating his adaptability and contributing effectively both defensively and offensively. His dynamic performances in midfield were crucial to Chennaiyin FC's playoff qualification. He finished the season with three goals and two assists.

Nikhil Prabhu

Prabhu impressed with his work rate and energy, covering a lot of ground and doing the dirty work as a holding midfielder. 

Despite his young age, he grew into an important player for the team under Vergetis. The Mumbai-born defender recorded the most successful tackles in the Punjab FC squad while his tally of 42 interceptions were a league-high tally. 

Fans' Centre Midfielder 2 of the Season: 

Lalengmawia Ralte

Ralte's technical ability and passing accuracy were key to his team's possession-based style of play, even despite the changes in head coach, as he orchestrated attacks from midfield and provided defensive cover when needed. One of his best performances of the season came in the ISL final, helping his team to win the Cup.

He registered the most successful tackles for his team while also chipping in attack with one goal and two assists.  

Brandon Fernandes

The FC Goa captain showcased his flair and creativity causing problems with his movement and deliveries inside the box. He showcased his playmaking abilities and passing, with his tally of 60 chances created proving to be a joint-highest tally in the league besides Petratos. 

Fernandes often dictated the tempo of his team's attacks and was crucial to their playoff qualification. He had a season to remember under Marquez as he contributed three goals and four assists. 

Jeremy Manzorro 

After a quiet start to the season, Manzorro came into his own when Jamil took over as head coach, being deployed in a box to box role. 

He finished as the second joint-highest goalscorer for the team with all his goals coming under Jamil. His prowess from dead-ball situations was also evident with the Frenchman scoring wonderful free-kick goals. He became the driving force for the team, creating the most chances for the side while also registering the most successful passes for the Red Miners. 


Puitea's versatility and ability to play in multiple positions in midfield added depth to Odisha FC’s squad, as he contributed both defensively and offensively whenever called upon.

The new signing grew into one of the most influential players for the team under Lobera, featuring in 20 matches and providing cover for their defence who finished the season with a joint-high tally of nine clean sheets. He also displayed his attacking instincts with a goal and an assist. 

Vibin Mohanan 

Mohanan's tenacity and defensive discipline were crucial in Kerala Blasters FC’s midfield, as he provided stability and protection for his team's backline while also initiating attacks from deep. In fact, he had the highest successful passes in his team. 

Despite missing a few matches through injury, he played 18 games and was a massive contributor to Kerala Blasters FC’s playoff run. 

Saul Crespo 

Despite missing many matches through injury, Crespo proved to be a stalwart in midfield for East Bengal FC. Serving as the linchpin of their gameplay, he consistently orchestrated the team's passing movements, recording the most successful passes for the club despite just making 14 appearances. 

His return to the pitch in March marked a turning point, as he quickly regained form and began making significant contributions. Crucially, his goals were crucial in keeping East Bengal FC alive in the playoff race. Notably, all four of his goals this season came in their last four matches.

Fans' Left Midfielders of the Season: 

Noah Sadaoui

Sadaoui's pace and direct running caused problems for opposition defences, as he frequently created scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates with his explosive bursts of speed. He was the highest goal scorer and goal contributor for the Gaurs, playing a big role in steering the team to the semi-finals.  

Despite switching between the roles of a striker or winger throughout the season, he was a menace for opposition defenders when in full flow.  

Javi Hernandez

Hernandez's creativity, vision and passing ability were instrumental for Bengaluru FC as he consistently created goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates. Despite not registering any assists to his name, he was the leading chance creator for the team. 

The Spaniard also chipped in with important goals for the team, netting on five occasions. His tally of five goals were the joint-highest for the Blues, besides forward Sunil Chhetri. 

Parthib Gogoi

Gogoi made significant contributions to his team's attacking play despite struggling to maintain consistency throughout the season. He displayed his skill in finding the back of the net from long range and creating scoring opportunities, adding firepower to his team's frontline. 

He finished the season as the team’s joint-highest scorer besides Juric and Albiach and was the leading goal contributor for the Highlanders alongside Albiach. 

Isak Vanlalruatfela

Thriving under head coach Lobera at Odisha FC, winger Isak Vanlalruatfela made a significant impact with four goals and three assists in 24 appearances. He emerged as the top Indian goalscorer for the team and formed a formidable partnership with Diego Mauricio and Roy Krishna in attack. Vanlalruatfela's pace, dribbling skills, and precision in delivering crosses from the wings were instrumental in Odisha FC's success, particularly in helping them qualify for the semi-finals for the first time in their history.

Rei Tachikawa

Throughout the season, Rei Tachikawa showcased his technical ability, creativity, and vision, consistently making the right decisions in the attacking third. With a tally of five goals, he emerged as the second-highest goalscorer for his team, besides Manzorro. Despite it being his debut season, Tachikawa adeptly adapted to the demands of the league, impressing with his performances and playing a crucial role in keeping his team in playoff contention