A number of these players arrived in the ISL at the fag end of their careers.
The Indian Super League (ISL) has evolved in different ways over the years. When it started, it was more of a football ‘bonanza’ that wanted to get more eyes to the sport. Now, the league looks more inclined towards setting up a smoothly-functioning football ecosystem.
Since its inception, the league has seen a lot of renowned names participate in it. The ‘marquee players’ concept in the first few years urged teams to splurge big money on major footballers. Unfortunately, teams had to settle for iconic players who were well past their prime. As a result, a lot of ‘old’ players scored in ISL games.
Despite their age, a number of footballers also scored some world-class goals to entertain fans. So let’s look at the top 10 oldest goal-scorers in ISL history.
10. Sunil Chhetri
Sunil Chhetri has been an ever-present figure in the ISL since it started. He currently holds the record for most goals scored by an Indian in the tournament, with 51 goals to his name. The Indian captain has won the competition with Bengaluru FC and has been among the top of the scoring charts throughout.
However, Chhetri achieved a unique stat last season by becoming the oldest Indian scorer in its history. After scoring in the 1-0 win over East Bengal in their final game of the 2021/22 season, Chhetri became one of the 10 oldest scorers in ISL history. He did it at 37 years, 7 months and 2 days – piping out ex-Mumbai City star Diego Forlan to the accolade.
9. Robbie Keane
Robbie Keane had a topsy-turvy period in his one (and only) ISL season with ATK in the 2017/18 campaign. After being roped in by Teddy Sheringham, the ex-Tottenham Hotspur striker played his final year with the Kolkata side. Despite ATK having a poor campaign marred by management issues, Keane did a good job on his own.
He scored six times in nine outings, helping his side claw out some important wins. One such win was against NorthEast United, in which he made some personal history as well. Keane scored at the age of 37 years, 10 months and 24 days – becoming one of the oldest players to score in the ISL.
8. Dimas Delgado
Despite being signed at the age of 34, Dimas Delgado proved to be an admirable warrior for Bengaluru FC. The Spaniard spent four seasons with the Blues, being their orchestrator and leader in midfield. He was influential in helping them win the 2018-19 ISL title, incidentally also the first trophy of his career.
The ex-Barcelona B midfielder made 67 appearances for Bengaluru, scoring four goals and providing 14 assists. His last-ever goal for them was in a thrilling 4-2 win over Kerala Blasters in the 2020/21 season. He scored at the age of 37 years, 10 months and 7 days. Delgado is the oldest-ever player to have scored for Bengaluru FC in ISL history.
7. Igor Angulo
Even after being signed by FC Goa towards the tail-end of his career, Igor Angulo still managed to terrorize the ISL. He arrived in 2020 and had a dream debut campaign, scoring 14 goals. He ended as the league’s Golden Boot winner for the 2020/21 season. Angulo joined Mumbai City FC in the 2021/22 season and continued posting impressive numbers.
The Spaniard scored 10 goals in 19 appearances for the Islanders, maintaining his reputation as a goal machine. Angulo scripted himself into the ISL history books in the 4-1 win over Odisha FC last season. He scored at the age of 38 years and 18 days – becoming one of the oldest scorers in the ISL.
6. Wes Brown
Kerala Blasters gave their fans something to cheer about after signing ex-Man Utd defender Wes Brown in 2017. That marked the Englishman’s 21st campaign in his professional career and also his final one. Brown couldn’t really give the Blasters the lift they needed to win the ISL or even make the playoffs.
However, he did provide some memorable moments – including a goal against NorthEast United. That solitary goal in a 1-0 win marked Brown’s final competitive strike in his career. He scored it at the age of 38 years, 4 months and 4 days – making him the oldest defender to score a goal in ISL history.
Jamshedpur FC sprinkled some Spanish flavor into their side by roping in Piti for the 2019/20 season. The Spaniard arrived with years of experience playing in La Liga with the likes of Real Zaragoza, Granada and Rayo Vallecano. However, the Spaniard had an underwhelming spell in India, as he was only able to make six appearances.
In that, he scored once and provided two assists – but the goal was a special one. Piti managed to score at the age of 38 years, 6 months and 17 days to etch his name in ISL folklore. In doing so, he also became the oldest Spanish player to score in the league before being released by Jamshedpur immediately after the 2019/20 campaign.
4. Tim Cahill
The Australian ‘boxer’ Tim Cahill made a surprising move to Indian football after joining Jamshedpur FC in 2018. The ex-Everton striker’s move helped gain a lot of mainstream attention for the ISL. He helped transfer some valuable knowledge and footballing IQ to the Jamshedpur youngsters and loved his time at the club. In his one and only campaign with the Men of Steel, Cahill scored twice in 12 appearances.
One such goal was in the 2-1 win over Delhi Dynamos, marking the final goal of his career. It was a special stat – Cahill had scored the goal at the age of 39 years and 16 days, becoming one of the oldest scorers in ISL history.
Former Portuguese international Silas is not remembered by a lot of Indian football fans. However, he did spend a short stint at NorthEast United in the 2015 season. Brought in to fulfill the foreigner quota, he only scored once in 12 appearances. However, Silas’ strike was of importance.
He scored in the 2-1 win over Chennaiyin FC, making himself the third-oldest goal-scorer in ISL history. The Portuguese midfielder scored the goal at the age of 39 years, 2 months and 10 days to get a place in the ISL record books.
2. Alessandro Del Piero
The ISL’s debut season had a lot of blockbuster moments, both on and off the pitch. One of the biggest things to ever happen in the league was when Delhi Dynamos signed Alessandro Del Piero. The Italian football icon arrived at the very tail-end of his career, but still attracted more eyeballs than most of the other players.
He only scored a single goal in 10 appearances, but that was one of the best in the league’s history. Del Piero netted a brilliant free-kick in the 2-2 draw against Chennaiyin FC, much to the delight of the fans. He scored the goal at the age of 40 years and 1 month, also marking the final goal of his iconic career.
1. Robert Pires
Under the guidance of their first manager, Zico, FC Goa created an exciting team in the first season of ISL. Their marquee player was Arsenal legend Robert Pires, who the Gaurs decided to sign at the age of 40! After a three-year hiatus from football, the French midfielder decided to have a last hurrah in India.
He scored his first (and only) ISL goal in a 4-1 win over Delhi Dynamos in November, 2014. Pires did help them get into the ISL playoffs. FC Goa finished second in the league phase. His solitary goal created a record yet to be broken. Pires scored the goal at the age of 41 years and 15 days. It made him the oldest ever player to score in the ISL. We doubt it’ll be beaten anytime soon.
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