Indian football stalwart Sunil Chhetri has been picked up by Indian Super League side Mumbai City FC in the ongoing ISL 2015 Auction, with the star striker signed for Rs 1.2 crores.
The price tag at which he was sold has received mixed reactions from many, including the co-owner of the Mumbai outfit Ranbir Kapoor. Ranbir admitting that even his side were not sure the talisman would be picked at such a bargain price.
"We never imagined he will be a part of our team, as he was the main attraction of this auction this year," the Bollywood superstar, who graced the event in Mumbai, said.
"Shocked that he's gone for such a price. We didn't even start with the process of bidding, and we thought we were going to have a hard time to land him up. But we are so privileged.
"Sunil's talent and showing for Indian football is something we have always admired, and we are privileged he will play for us," Ranbir added.
The base price of Chhetri was set at Rs 80 lakhs, and the low valuation for the national team skipper didn't really concern the player himself.
"I would like to thank all of you teams and wish you all the best today. I am really excited to be part of ISL. I have been all over over the world, but have never played in Mumbai before. So I'll look forward to playing with them," Chhetri said.
Meanwhile, the most dramatic moment of the ISL 2015 Auction came via midfield maestro Eugeneson Lyngdoh.
Stamped at a base price of just Rs 27.5 lakhs for a player of his calibre, the Shillong lad received a storm of bids from the franchisees present and he finally landed up in the hands of FC Pune City, for a whopping fee of Rs 1.05 crores.
Eugeneson initially did not attract much bids from any of the outfits barring FC Goa and Kerala Blasters. And it looked like it would be a shocking steal for the player by the Goa side.
But as the moments passed, the bids came fast and smooth, and Atletico de Kolkata, Mumbai City, NorthEast United FC, as well as Pune, joined in the closing stages for the war of bids.
ATK entered the Rs 1 crore mark in a bid to sign the player, and Pune overbid that amount at Rs 1.05 crores, and that remained the final price.
The Pune side have also done a masterful tactical business by picking up Royal Wahingdoh sensation Jackichand Singh for a price of Rs 45 Lakhs.
The Manipuri lad was the first player to get selected from the pick of lots in the day, and Pune, alongwith Mumbai City, and NorthEast bid vociferously for the I-League Best Player of 2014-15.
Jackichand was stamped at a base price of Rs 20 lakh, but nobody outbid the offer of Rs 45 lakhs put forward by the Hrithik-led Pune FC contigent present in the event.
"I don't have a problem in wasting money if they are worth the investment. And when we are investing for quality footballers for the team, I don't mind," Bollywood superstar Hrithik said.
"We needed what we wanted to do today, and we just did exactly that. Having Eugene and Jackie with us will take us a long way."
Among the other Pool A players, midfielder Thoi Singh attracted highly competitive bids from Chennaiyin FC and NorthEast United FC from the start. Mumbai joined the bid for the player in the closing stages, but it was Chennaiyin who prevailed in the end.
He was snapped up by the Chennai side for a price of Rs 86 lakhs. (base price: Rs 39 lakhs)
Also, Anas Edathodika didn't attract too many bids. Delhi Dynamos were the side that won the bid for him, snapping him up for a mere Rs 41 lakhs. His base price was Rs 40 lakhs.