ISL Auction: Ranbir Kapoor's Mumbai City FC snaps up Sunil Chhetri for Rs 1.2 crore

MUMBAI: The first auction of Indian footballers? new dream tournament IMG-Reliance and Star India funded Indian Super league (ISL) kickstarted in Mumbai with national football sensation Sunil Chhetri going under the hammer for a whopping Rs 1.20 crore. Having a base price of Rs 80 lakh, Chhetri was picked up by Ranbir Kapoor's Mumbai City FC. 

Kapoor said, "I am excited to have Sunil in our team and we are looking forward to the next season with him in the team. Sunil and Anelka up in front will certainly be a worthy experience."

Veteran football commentator John Dykes started the auction proceedings along with auction specialist Charlie Ross.

The first player to go down the hammer was the winner of the I-League Player of the Season Jackichand Singh. His base price was Rs 20 lakh and after much tussling and strategising, Pune FC grabbed his services for Rs 45 lakh. Hrithik Roshan sported a big smile after securing Singh?s services. Mumbai co-owner Kapoor and North East United co-owner John Abraham were also aggressively bidding for Singh.

With a base price of Rs 39 lakh, Thoi Singh managed to raise many eyebrows when Chennai FC clinched him for Rs 86 lakh.

Alongside Chhetri who breached the Rs 1 crore mark, Eugeneson Lyngdoh became the first player in the auction to touch the coveted price point. After several rounds of aggressive bidding, which started from the base price of Rs 27.5 lakh, Roshan had the last laugh as Pune City FC secured the midfielder's services by investing a sum of Rs 1.05 crore. As many as five clubs were vying for Lyngdoh.

On the other hand, Rino Anto was the show stopper of Pool B of the ISL auction. The one-of-a-kind Indian national Left Back went under the hammer with a base price of Rs 17.5 lakh. However this amount was too little when compared to his class and franchise owners recognised it early on. Defending champions Athletico de Kolkata bagged his services after several rounds of counter bidding against various franchises. Anto?s selling price went up to Rs 90 lakh, which was way over his base price. 

Pool B also had nation number 9 Robin Singh. The goal scorer was expected to grab the attention of many a teams but it turned out to be a very cold bidding while he was under the hammer. Delhi Dynamos secured his service paying Rs 51 lakh, a tad higher than his base price of Rs 40 lakh.

A total of Rs 7.22 crore was spent in the first edition of the ISL player auction for garnering the services of top 10 Indian players.  

The auction began with an encouraging speech from ISL founder and chairperson Nita Ambani. 

Ambani said, "Half a million young minds participated in the Reliance Foundation young minds grassroots program out of which the best 23 were selected and now they are privileged with top class facilities in Mumbai, getting top class coaching from top football coaches. We are committed to make the second season bigger and better. We will try our level best to make India a truly footballing nation. Come on India, let's football."

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