It’s not easy to walk away from the game. Even when all the signs tell you to. Players have so much rooted in their careers that realizing it’s over is a hard pill to swallow. Some footballers simply hang around the game too long hurting their reputation in the process.
Arguably, this list contains some of the best Indian footballers in recent time but sadly they also come in as footballers who are playing well past their prime. Instead of stopping when they started to decline, they continue to play and a small part of their legacy suffering because of it. This list prove that just because you are great at what you do does not mean you can do it forever.
5. Sangram Mukherjee: Sangram Mukherjee will always be regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers in modern day Indian football. After a successful stint at East Bengal, he spent six seasons with Mohun Bagan, winning two Federation Cup and three Calcutta Football League titles, he also captained The Mariners and has been capped 22 times for Indian national team. Still, it wasn’t enough for the legendary goalie, who signed with United Sports Club in 2013 after Mohun Bagan decided not to bring him back for the 2013/14 season. His tenure in United SC was a rather forgotabble one, as once CFL winning captain was part of the team that got relegated from CFL Premier Division in 2016. It’s safe to say we are not the only ones who wish this never happened.
4. Deepak Mondal: Deepak Mondal is one of the greatest centre backs in Indian football during the first decade of the new millennium. Mondal established himself as a top-notch central defender in helping East Bengal win three National Football League, two Durand Cup, and four Calcutta Football League titles. Although his career was starting to finally dwindle by the time he returned to East Bengal in 2015 after ten-long years which certainly did not help his legacy as he made only three I-League appearances for the club before being released in the next season and joined I-League 2nd Division club Southern Samity subsequently.
3. Clifford Miranda: A product of Tata Football Academy, Clifford Miranda made his debut for Dempo SC as a teenager in 2000 starting a 15-year long association with the club. He helped Dempo to lift the I-League title five times and Federation Cup in 2004. He was also a part of the team that played the 2008 AFC Cup semi-finals and made over 40 appearances for national team. When Dempo relegated from I-League in 2015, Miranda joined Minerva Punjab FC in 2016 but his tenure in Minerva lasted for just two games. However, later Miranda managed to secure a contract with an I-League club in Churchill Brothers, but so far he has only made two appearances for the Goan club out of 14 games in 2016/17 I-League, and in other 12 games he was not even included into the 18-man squad. We really hope it’s worth it.
2. Shylo Malsawmtluanga: Shylo Malsawmtluanga, has been widely regarded as the “Godfather” of Mizoram football, is one of the greatest wingers of the 2000s but of course the 2000s were a decade ago, and Shylo is still playing. Shylo has enjoyed most his success in club football while playing for East Bengal during his first spell with the club from 2002 to 2007. However, when he returned for a second stint in 2013 he was just a mere shell of his former self. Although he did deliver some noteworthy performances but he was nowhere near his best. Now Shylo plying his trade in Southern Samity where he sit out for most of the games.
1. Alvito D’Cunha: Alvito D’Cunha is a man who came all the way from Goa in 2002 and made Kolkata his home. During his 14-year long stint at East Bengal he seen it all, done it all. The Brand Ambassador of East Bengal won two National Football League, Four Ferderation Cup and multiple Calcutta Football League titles with the club. However, the age-related performance decline started for the Goanese in the early 2010s, the former India international was unable to match with the younger talents in the side but D’Cunha couldn’t just retire, instead he decided to hung on untill 2014 before taking up the managerial role in the club. However, it was enough to tarnish his legacy as once adored by the fans D’Cunha faced some strong criticism during his last few days as a player.