Bengaluru FC midfielder Javi Hernandez has labelled club teammate Sunil Chhetri as the ‘best Indian player ever’ and singled out the Indian football team captain’s competitive nature and his hunger to win games.

Hernandez has spent four seasons in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) and has faced Chhetri as an opponent on multiple occasions. The Spaniard signed for Bengaluru FC ahead of the 2022-23 campaign, giving him an opportunity to work closely with the veteran striker. Hernandez revealed he was taken aback by Chhetri’s hunger after playing with him during the 2022-23 season.

”About Sunil, everyone knows. He is the best Indian player ever and after playing with him last season, I realised he is one of those players, who is always hungry for more. He is very competitive during training and he wants to win no matter what. I can only say good words about him”, Javi was quoted as saying in an interview by

The 33-year-old was one of the key players for Bengaluru FC during the season as the side qualified for three finals while winning the Durand Cup 2022 title. Having won the Hero ISL title with ATK FC in his debut season in Indian football during the 2019-20 campaign, the Spaniard later represented ATK Mohun Bagan, reaching the Hero ISL 2020-21 final with the Mariners.

Hernandez shifted base to Bhubaneshwar the following season, joining the Juggernauts on a one-year deal. He had a hand in 11 goals and was the second-highest goal contributor for the club during the Hero ISL 2021-22 campaign. The creative midfielder then signed for Bengaluru FC a year later and became a key orchestrator for the Blues.

During the Hero ISL 2022-23 campaign, the midfielder contributed seven goals and five assists across 22 games helping Bengaluru FC make it to the final. This was his best season in terms of goal contributions. In the three Hero ISL seasons prior to this, Hernandez tallied nine goals across three campaigns.

”Well, I have played four years so far in the (Hero) ISL and in the first few seasons, I couldn’t score or assist that much individually. I played in a more defensive role but in the last two seasons, talking about numbers I am very happy. In the 2021-22 season, my statistics were good but couldn’t reach the playoffs (with Odisha FC). But this season, we played three finals, (I) don’t know whether it has happened before or not in India. It is very competitive here as all the teams are equal and we are quite happy with our team’s performance”, Javi said as he reflected on the season.

A Hero ISL title winner with over 78 appearances in the Hero ISL across four seasons, Hernandez has watched the league grow while plying his trade for different teams. The Spaniard stated the level of Indian players has improved since the time he arrived in India and believes Indian football has grown since the arrival of the Hero ISL.

”I feel the Indian players have improved very much since I came to India. Now, we are actually seeing some very good talents and youngsters coming up the ranks. Football here is growing and it is quite evident from the eight years of the Hero ISL. Hopefully we will see better Indian players in years to come,” he concluded.