In the Indian Soccer League's (ISL) international players draft, Sachin Tendulkar's co-owned Kerala Blasters FC have roped-in former Newcastle United striker Michael Chopra, while Team Chennai opted for former Manchester United player Bojan Djordjic.
A total of 49 players were drafted from the 'central players draft pool' to eight teams in Mumbai today, for the franchise-based league, slated to take place from October to December.
Chopra was the only English player in the draft and the Kerala team roped him in the first round itself. The former Sunderland player is currently a free-agent and will receive $58,185 per season.
"When the drafts came up, the first name that caught our attention was that of Chopra," Marquee player and manager of Kerala team, David James said. "We immediately decided to have him and are happy to have him in this team."
Former Paris-Saint Germain player Bernard Mendy is another high profile signing and will receive $80,000 per season.
Mendy will play for Chennai team that will run with the collaboration of Serie A club Inter Milan, after Sun Group-owned Bangalore franchise dropped out of the league.
Djordjic will also play for the Internazionale-managed club and will receive $58,185 per season. The club also drafted French players Cristian Hidalgo Gonzalez and Gennaro Bracigliano and Spanish player Eduardo Silva Lerma for the upcoming ISL season.
"The eighth team in the ISL would be Team Chennai represented today by Prashant Agarwal of Play on Skills which has a technical collaboration with Inter Milan in India," said Anupam Dutta, CEO of ISL. "The owners of the Chennai franchise would be announced later."
Atletico de Madrid and former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly-owned team, Atletico de Kolkata, signed former Barcelona player Jofre Mateu Gonzalez for $58,185 a year, while they also opt for former Liverpool right-back Jose Miguel Gonzalez Rey.
Spaniard Arnal Llibert Conde Carbo, former PSG goalkeeper Apoula Edima Edel Bete, ex-Real Madrid player Borja Fernandez and central-defender Sylvain Monsoreau are the other players drafted by the Kolkata-based team.
"There are a few formations that the coach wants and accordingly, we picked our players," Atletico de Kolkata's Saharsh Parekh said. "It's all about creating a balance - young and experienced and then decide the players."
"Today we are going to Kolkata and have a meeting to decide. 40 days is the ideal time to start the pre-season," he added.
International Players Drafted by Franchises:
Atletico de Kolkata: Borja Fernandez, Jofre Mateu Gonzalez, Jose Miguel Gonzalez Rey, Arnal Llibert Conde Carbo, Sylvain Monsoreau, Jakub Podany and Apoula Edima Edel Bete.
Team Chennai: Bernard Mendy, Cristian Hidalgo Gonzalez, Gennaro Bracigliano, Bojan Djordjic, Bruno Augusto Pelissari de Lima, Jairo Andrés Suarez Carvajal and Eduardo Silva Lerma.
Delhi Dynamos FC: Mads Junker, Morten Skoubo, Bruno Herrero Arias, Gustavo Marmentini dos Santos, Marek Cech, Pavel Elias and Henrique Dinis Oliveira Dias.
Team Goa: Miroslav Slepicka, Jan Seda, Bruno Filipe Tavares Pinheiro, Youness Bengelloun, Miguel Bruno Pereira Herlein, Gregory Arnolin and Edgar Carvalho Figueira Marcelino.
Kerala Blasters FC: Michael Chopra, Iain Hume, Victor Herrero Forcada, Erwin Spitzner, Pedro Adriano Veloso Gusmao, Cedric Hengbart and Raphael Romey.
Mumbai City FC: Diego Fernando Nadaya, Jan Stohanzl, Francisco Javier Fernandez Luque, Pavel Cmovs, Johann Letzelter, Andre Matos Dias Pereira and Ilias Pollalis.
North East United FC: Isaac Chansa, Cornell Glen, Massamba Lo Sambou, Do Dong-Hyun, Guilherme Felipe de Castro, Tomas Josl and Luis Alfredo Yanes Padilla.
FC Pune City: Bruno Cirillo, Emanuele Belardi, Ivan Bolado Palacios, Saidou Mady Panandetiguiri, Omar Andres Rodriguez Martinez, Andres Felipe Gonzalez Ramirez and Park Kwang-IL.