Contributing from both ends of the field: ISL 2023 defenders with the highest goal contributions
Football is a game where goals are typically associated with forwards and attacking players. However, in the Indian Super League (ISL), there have been several defenders who have made significant contributions in front of the goal. These players have defied the conventional role of defenders and have showcased their attacking prowess. In this article, we will take a closer look at the top goal-scoring defenders in the ISL and their impressive goal contributions.
1. Thomas Vermaelen: A Defensive Powerhouse
Thomas Vermaelen, a centre-back, has made a name for himself in the ISL with his solid defensive skills and impressive goal-scoring ability. Developed by the renowned Ajax youth academy, Vermaelen was bought by Arsenal from Ajax for €10 million. Despite his relatively shorter stature of 1.78m, Vermaelen proved his doubters wrong by dominating the English Premier League with his exceptional defensive skills.
While Vermaelen’s defensive prowess was evident, he also showcased his ability to find the back of the net. Throughout his career in the ISL, Vermaelen has scored an impressive 20 goals in 206 games, averaging 0.09 goals per game. His ease with possession and ability to contribute in attack make him a formidable force on the field.
2. Juan: The Unsung Hero
Juan, a long-serving member of the Seleção, is one of the lesser-known defenders who have made significant goal contributions in the ISL. Despite Brazil’s reputation for samba football, Juan’s goal-scoring ability often goes unnoticed. With 44 goals in 454 games, Juan has proven time and again that he can find the back of the net when given the opportunity. His impressive goals per game ratio of 0.09 showcases his ability to make an impact in the attacking third.
3. John Arne Riise: The Spectacular Scorer
John Arne Riise, a left-back known for his cannon free kicks, is another defender who has left a mark in the ISL. Riise’s time at Liverpool was filled with spectacular goals, including a memorable rocket of a free kick against Manchester United in 2001. Although he had a knack for scoring goals, Riise’s own goal during the 2007-2008 season left a bittersweet footnote in his career at Anfield.
Throughout his ISL career, Riise has scored 62 goals in 648 games, averaging 0.09 goals per game. His attacking prowess from the left-back position adds a unique dimension to his game, making him a valuable asset for any team.
4. Ryan Shawcross: Fearless and Effective
Ryan Shawcross, a centre-back, has had a career filled with both highs and lows. Known for his fearless defending, Shawcross has faced criticism for his aggressive tackles. However, his goal-scoring ability cannot be overlooked. Under manager Tony Pulis’ pragmatic and set piece-oriented tactics, Shawcross has showcased his ability to find the back of the net. With 19 goals in 176 games, Shawcross boasts an impressive goals per game ratio of 0.10.
5. Jan Vertonghen: A Complete Package
Jan Vertonghen, a centre-back, possesses both the technical and physical abilities to excel in the ISL. A product of the renowned Ajax youth academy, Vertonghen has made a name for himself with his confident and solid defending. Like his Belgian compatriot Thomas Vermaelen, Vertonghen has a keen eye for goal. With 21 goals in 198 games, he boasts an impressive goals per game ratio of 0.10. His proficiency in both defending and attacking makes him a valuable asset for any team.
6. Taye Taiwo: Power and Precision
Taye Taiwo, a left-back, caught the attention of football fans during the U-20 2005 FIFA World Cup. Known for his attack-first attitude, Taiwo’s powerful strikes and ability to disregard his defensive duties have made him a threat in front of the goal. With 31 goals in 287 games, Taiwo boasts a goals per game ratio of 0.10. His attacking approach, coupled with his powerful shots, make him a force to be reckoned with in the ISL.
7. Sergio Ramos: From Defense to Offense
Sergio Ramos, primarily a right-back, is known for his willingness to contribute in attack. His goal-scoring exploits were best documented when he surprisingly took a penalty against Athletic Bilbao, leaving his manager Jose Mourinho in disbelief. Ramos’ ability to find the back of the net is not surprising, as he himself has stated that he has a decent goal average. With 40 goals in 385 games, Ramos has proven time and again that he can make an impact in the attacking third.
8. Nemanja Vidić: Scoring and Defending
Nemanja Vidić, a centre-back, has established himself as one of the best defenders in the world. Known for his steely resolve in defense, Vidić has also showcased his goal-scoring ability from set pieces. With 46 goals in 450 games, Vidić boasts a goals per game ratio of 0.10. His ability to contribute at both ends of the pitch makes him a valuable asset for any team.
9. Rogério Ceni: The Goal-Scoring Goalkeeper
Rogério Ceni, the only goalkeeper on this list, has long surpassed his South American counterparts as the most prolific goal-scoring goalkeeper. Ceni’s perseverance in perfecting the art of free kicks and penalty kicks has seen him cement his name in history. With 100 goals in 972 games, Ceni boasts an impressive goals per game ratio of 0.10. Although he has been a reserve goalkeeper for the Brazilian national team, his goal-scoring ability has made him a legend at São Paulo.
10. Ezequiel Garay: A Scoring Sensation
Ezequiel Garay, a centre-back, has showcased his goal-scoring prowess during his time at Racing Santander. Although he is currently a bench-warmer for Real Madrid, Garay’s ability to find the back of the net cannot be overlooked. With 18 goals in 145 games, Garay boasts a goals per game ratio of 0.12. His goal-scoring ability, particularly from penalty shots, has made him a valuable asset in the ISL.
With these defenders leading the way in terms of goal contributions, it is clear that the Indian Super League is not just about attacking players. These defenders have proven that they can make a significant impact in front of the goal, adding a unique dimension to their teams’ gameplay. Their ability to contribute at both ends of the pitch sets them apart and makes them a force to be reckoned with in Indian football.