These players have often been dubbed the most efficient in the league.
Regardless of which position one occupies on the field, passing accurately remains a non-negotiable skill that every single footballer has to possess or at least develop through repetitive practice. This is even more important in modern football, where almost every top team dominates possession and attempts to play out from the back. Similar to football leagues around the world, the ISL has also seen its fair share of clinical passers in its short existence till now.
Players who are precise and dependable on the ball are essential commodities in every side. That is because progressing the ball efficiently through the different phases requires such players that can receive the ball under pressure and have the ability to then calmly distribute it further. Here are five excellent players who have made the most number of successful passes in the history of the ISL.
5. Harmanjot Singh Khabra
Harmanjot Singh Khabra has been a vital part of Bengaluru FC since he joined the club in 2017. The 31-year-old was an integral member of the Blues side that won the ISL title in the 2018-19 season. Not only is he astute defensively, but Khabra has also been called one of the best passers in India during his time in the ISL.
The versatile player has completed a laudable 3341 passes, notching eight assists across six seasons in the league. On an average, he makes 38.85 passes per game and maintains a completion rate of 74.19 %. In the first three editions, the defender turned out for Chennaiyin FC, lifting the ISL crown with them in the second season, before repeating the feat with Bengaluru.
4. Dimas Delgado
Another Bengaluru FC player, Dimas Delgado is renowned for pulling the strings in midfield for his team. The midfielder has racked up 3414 passes in 54 matches, indicating his proficiency at smoothly circulating possession. Additionally, he makes 63.22 passes per game at a 76.71% accuracy rate.
Widely regarded as one of the best passers of the ball in ISL, Delgado can open up defences through accurate long balls from a deeper position. He has also recorded 156 tackles, 74 interceptions and 68 clearances, underlining his defensive endeavour. Furthermore, the Spaniard has also contributed to the attack over the years, as his three goals and 13 assists would attest.
3. Raphael Augusto
With a total of 3903 passes at an accuracy of 77.09%, Raphael Augusto finds himself in third place on this list. A two-time ISL winner with Chennaiyin FC, it is suffice to say that the Brazilian midfielder has made his mark in Indian football since joining the league back in 2015. He played a key part in both those triumphs, providing the necessary creativity and guile from the middle of the park.
The 29-year-old has scored six goals and provided seven assists in 71 ISL matches. Prior to the start of the 2019-20 season, Augusto moved to Bengaluru FC, bringing an end to his four-year stay in Chennai. However, he couldn’t carve the same impact last term, as he played only nine matches, registering just a single assist.
2. Lenny Rodrigues
Lenny Rodrigues has improved massively in the last couple of years, establishing himself as an important player for FC Goa. For all of Goa’s attacking brilliance, it is the presence of the 33-year-old working tirelessly in midfield that enables attackers to flourish. The midfielder is adept at winning the ball back for his side and distributing it swiftly to his more attack-minded teammates.
However, he is far more than just a ball-winner, having completed the second-most passes (3984) of all the players during his time in the ISL. Moreover, the Goan has also made the most interceptions (165), which represent his ability to disrupt opposition attacks through intelligent positioning. Recently, he was rewarded with a two-year extension by the Gaurs for his excellent performances, which will see him remain at the club until the summer of 2022.
1. Ahmed Jahouh
It comes as no surprise at all to see Ahmed Jahouh at the top the list of best ISL passers. After joining FC Goa ahead of the 2017-18 season, the Moroccan midfielder became a key cog in midfield for the Indian outfit. In 56 games, he has managed to make the most passes (4374) in the history of the league. Jahouh is known for controlling games from the base of midfield, as his 78.11 average passes per game at an accuracy of 78.8 % so clearly indicate.
He masterfully controls the tempo of the game, dictating play with his splendid range of passing. A metronome in the middle of the park, Jahouh not only excels at spraying passes but also holds the ability to win possession with his excellent tackling prowess. The 32-year-old even leads the charts on that metric, with 413 tackles to his name.
Jahouh begins attacks from a deeper position, as he effortlessly dominates games for the Gaurs. Now, after three successful years at Goa, he is ready for a change in scenery, as he looks set to move to Mumbai City FC to reunite with former boss Sergio Lobera. At his new club, Jahouh could potentially strike up a formidable partnership with Rowllin Borges for the Islanders, thereby providing them a solid base to carry out free-flowing attacking football.