The Spanish influence in Indian football started back in I-League with Sporting Club de Goa. Since then the influence has only gotten stronger with each passing year. The Indian Super League has only added more fuel to the fire. Imminent footballers from Spain have graced Indian football and have left a legacy behind.
The ISL has been dominated by the Spanish contingent for some time now. The Spanish influence in the league is pretty evident and it was only helped the domestic players get better. Over the years, a lot of footballers have come to India from Spain but only a few have achieved great success or left an everlasting impact on Indian football. Therefore we at The Bridge have listed the top five most successful Spanish footballers to grace Indian football.
#5 Edu Garcia
One of the most dynamic midfielders to ever grace the Indian shores, Edu Garcia continues to shine in the Indian Super League. He came to India in 2017 when he joined Bengaluru FC and made an immediate impact on the Blues. Garcia immediately proved his credentials in his debut season as Bengaluru FC topped the ISL league table.
Garcia then joined Chinese second-tier outfit Zheijiang FC in February 2018. However, he came back to the ISL when he joined ATK a year later. He finally got his hands on the coveted Indian Super League title with the Kolkata-based club and played a big role in their sensational win. He scored six goals and three assists making some match-winning appearances from the bench. He even scored a crucial goal in the finals against Chennaiyin. The Spaniard will now don the Hyderabad FC jersey for the upcoming season. The Nizams will hope that he replicates his success just like his previous ISL stints.
#4 Borja Fernandez
Probably the only player in this list from the old guard. But Borja Fernandez's impact on the Indian Super League allowed a lot of Spanish players to take this route and come to India. He was exceptional with his crunching tackles, leadership, and defense-splitting passes but he was equally brilliant with his off-the-field publicity. He made ISL more global. He shared his experiences in India back home and influenced a lot of players to come to India.
Coming back to his days at ATK, Borja joined the club in 2014 for the first time. He was an instant success as he connected really well with head coach Antonio Lopez Habas. He had a sensational season with the Kolkata-based outfit as he guided them to the title in the inaugural season. The former Real Madrid man played a huge role in ATK's early success in the ISL. He also played a big role in ATK's ISL win in 2016 under the tutelage of Jose Molina. Overall he is definitely one of the most successful Spanish players in Indian football folklore.
One of the standout Spanish players, Juanan has been a stalwart for Bengaluru FC over the years. He is undoubtedly one of the most successful Spanish players to feature in Indian football. Juanan has been a leader at the back for the Blues ever since joining the Indian outfit in 2016. His exceptional leadership and game-reading ability make him one of the best foreign defenders on Indian soil.
He made an immediate impact in Bengaluru as he played a big role in their Federation Cup win. He carried that form into the Indian Super League as they finished top of the table in 2018 but they lost the finals against Chennaiyin FC. However, Juanan led the Blues to a Super Cup in the same year and then added more to his tally by winning the ISL in 2019. He will always be a very important player in Bengaluru FC's history even though he has jumped ship to join Hyderabad FC for the upcoming season.
#2 Edu Bedia
Edu Bedia has been one of FC Goa's longest-serving foreign players. The Spanish midfielder created history as he led the Gaurs to the AFC Asian Champion League for the first time in Indian football history. Bedia has been one of the most consistent performers in ISL history. The former Real Zaragoza man joined FC Goa in 2017 and since then he has been a pivotal part of the team's success over the years.
The 32-year-old is yet to get his hands on the coveted ISL trophy but he won the regular league season under the tutelage of Sergio Lobera in 2020. He has also played a big role in the Gaurs winning the Super Cup in 2018 and recently he added another feather to his cap by winning the Durand Cup. He will once again look to lead the Gaurs for another brand new ISL season, this time hoping to win the trophy.
#1 Ferran Corominas
Another former FC Goa player who is considered as one of the best forwards to ever feature in Indian football. Ferran Corominas was a revelation for the Gaurs as he was a genuine match-winner. Coro joined FC Goa in 2017 and legacy a legacy behind. He had an immediate impact as he netted 18 goals and became the top scorer in his first season. He continued the same form and bagged the Super Cup title for FC Goa. His goalscoring prowess did not stop there as he bagged another 16 goals in the following ISl season guiding the Gaurs to the ISL finals.
Coro was not only a goal scorer, he was a jack of trades for the Gaurs. He was a leader of men, someone who could create chances for his teammates and even finish them off all by himself. Although he never got his hands to the coveted league title, he is ISL's record goalscorer with 48 goals from 57 matches. Coro still remains a cult figure in Goa. Whenever the club signs a new forward, they are mostly compared with the 38-year-old Spaniard, hence proving his legacy in Indian football.