Chhetri, Lyngdoh become 1-crore picks in ISL auction
Star striker Sunil Chhetri was sold at a relatively low price though he still attracted the highest winning bid of Rs 1.20 crore in the star-studded Hero Indian Super League Player Auction here on Friday.
Chhetri, the current national captain and poster boy of Indian football in the last few years, was expected to be at the centre of a bidding war among the eight franchises of the ISL but surprisingly only two of them showed interest to get his services with Mumbai City FC paying Rs 40 lakh more than his base price of Rs 80 lakh.
The other team which showed interest in Chhetri was Delhi Dynamos, the franchise based at his home city.
Bengaluru FC midfielder <g data-gr-id="51">Eugeneson</g> Lyngdoh’s credentials as a rising player was strengthened as he became the second player to garner more than Rs one crore price as he was bought for Rs 1.05 crore by Pune City FC after an intense bidding war among six franchises. He was sold more than three times his base price of Rs 27.50 lakh.
Another Bengaluru FC defender Rino Anto was also a surprise gainer as he was <g data-gr-id="53">bought</g> by last year’s winners Atletico de Kolkata for Rs 90 lakh at the glittering domestic player auction conducted by Charlie Ross and attended by the likes of Nita Ambani, Bollywood stars Hrithik Roshan, Ranbir Kapoor and John Abraham, and football greats Zico, Roberto Carlos and Marco <g data-gr-id="52">Matterazzi</g>.
Anto had the lowest base prize of Rs 17.50 lakh among the 10 players put up for the first football auction ever held in the country on <g data-gr-id="44">Friday</g> but he was sold at more than five times that amount.
30-year-old Chhetri, who is now expected to pair with former French international and current Mumbai City FC player-cum-manager Nicolas Anelka in the second ISL season beginning on October 3, said he was not disappointed at the low price.
“I have played at <g data-gr-id="47">highest</g> level of football for the last 13 years and fortunately I have enough money. I am not disappointed as money is not my priority,” he said. Chhetri has played 87 matches and now is India’s highest scorer with more than 40 strikes. Chhetri missed the first season of ISL last year as he was not released by his I-League club Bengaluru <g data-gr-id="97">FC .</g>Another player who fetched a much higher price, more than twice his base price of Rs 39 lakh, was midfielder Thoi Singh.
Taking part as a free agent, Singh was sold to <g data-gr-id="40">Chennayin</g> FC for 86 lakh after bidding in which NorthEast United and Mumbai City FC took part.