ISL- Indian Super League

Five fan favourite foreigners to have played for NorthEast United FC

Yash Pratap SinghYash Pratap Singh

October 13 2023
NorthEast United FC fan favourite foreigners

Bartholomew Ogbeche was first NorthEast United captain to lead them to top 4 finish

Indian Super League (ISL) side NorthEast United FC have brought in some world class foreign players to their squad over the last ten years in the Indian Top flight. The Highlanders have signed players from all continents of the world.

A lot of these foreign players did not live up to the expectations while a few of them exceeded everyone’s expectations and became a household name in the region. On that note, let us take a look at the top five fan favourite foreign players of NorthEast United.

5. Panagiotis Triadis

The Greek-German forward joined the Highlanders in their historic 2018-19 season during the January window. Soon after joining the Guwahati based side, Triadis became a fan favourite and one of most loved faces of the team.

He was known for his swift skills, extraordinary personality and so much more. In just less than four months, Triadis won the Fan’s Player of the Season award for best midfielder. The midfielder scored a goal straight from the heavens in the 2019-20 season before parting ways with the club.

4. Luis Machado

The Portuguese winger came to India during the ISL’s first ever bio-bubble season in Goa. Machado looked in great touch since the beginning of the season which resulted in him becoming one of the most loved players in NorthEast United FC despite being away from the fans.

He came in straight from the Portuguese top tier and lit up the ISL. He was NorthEast United’s joint top scorer with seven goals to his name in the 2020-21 season. Machado was too good with his movements with the ball. Despite missing a crucial penalty in the semi-final, Machado was backed by the fans through thick and thin.

3. Bartholomew Ogbeche

Ogbeche celebrating his hat trick (Source: India Today)

Next up, is the Highlanders’ first captain who led them to a top four finish. Ogbeche announced his arrival in India in style. The Nigerian is undoubtedly one of the best players to have played in the league. He led from the front and always made sure that NorthEast United exceeded expectations and surprised their opponents. 

Despite being a part of the club for just one season, Ogbeche is still NorthEast United’s joint second highest goal scorer with 12 goals to his name. Ogbeche scored a ten-minute hattrick against Chennaiyin FC and helped his side come back from 2-0 down to 3-4 at full-time.

2. Nicolas Velez

Velez enjoying with his teammates

Nicolas Velez is famously known as Nico Velez among NorthEast United FC fans. The Argentine forward is very famous among the Highlanders’ faithful. Even a kid in NorthEast knows who Nico Velez is, that’s the kind of fandom he still has.

It’s been almost seven years since he last wore the NorthEast United FC jersey, but till today the fans love and miss him. He made 25 appearances for the Highlanders and scored 8 goals in the process. He was and will be their starboy!

1. Federico Gallego

The top name in our list is none other than NorthEast United’s forever fan favourite Federico Gallego. Gallego had the streets like no one did. He is known as the King of NorthEast United and is hugely admired and loved for his contributions for the club.

He joined them in the 2018-19 season and helped them get to the semi-finals. He put his body on the line for the team and took a big knock in the second leg of the semi-final which led to a 9 month injury.

He came back and had lost his touch, but was still backed by the clubs and its fans. The following season he led them to another semi-final with his out of the world performances. Gallego is NorthEast United’s longest serving foreign player having made 47 appearances.

He has also scored 9 goals and provided 12 assists during his time at the club. Everything about Gallego was simply perfect and had it not been injuries, he would have still been a part of the club.

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