In the short history of Indian Super League, the fans have seen a number of eminent player from numerous countries come and showcase their skills, and they also pass on their knowledge and skill to the Indian players. Prominent footballers from world footballing giants like Brazil, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Argentina and many more have graced the beautiful game on Indian soil. Surprisingly there has been only one player from the 4 time World Champions Germany who has plied his trade in India.
Manuel Friedrich is the name that devoted fans of Mumbai City Football Club might recall.
Manuel came up through the ranks of FSV Mainz 05 – Football Club and made his senior team debut February 2000. After two impressive seasons, he was signed up by SV Werder Bremen. But after an unsuccessful stint, where he managed to make only one appearance, he return back to Mainz 05 and helped them gain promotion to Bundesliga. He managed to amass 116 appearance for Mainz in his second spell, and joined Bayern Leverkusen in the summer of 2007. He was an integral part of the team till 2013 where he was ever present in the defense unit. He even captained the side and made a total number of 147 appearance,all in the while, scoring some crucial goals.
He joined Borussia Dortmund on a free transfer on November 2013, as an emergency replacement for the injured Matt Hummel and Neven Subotic .
He was also the first player from Mainz to be called up by the National Team when he was called up to the Germany squad for a friendly match against United States of America in 2006 . However he didn’t get any gametime in that match and missed out on the 23 man squad for the World Cup. He made his full debut against Sweden and went on to make 8 more appearance and even registered a goal against minnows San Marino, in their 13-0 victory in Euro 2008 qualifier match.
In August 2014 he signed for the new ISL franchise Mumbai City FC which was his first stint outside of his native country. He was appointed as the vice-captain and went on to play all the 14 matches for the islanders while scoring a crucial winning goal in their 2-1 victory over Atletico De Kolkata at their home.
It wasn’t a sweet signing off to his career as his side Mumbai City FC were beaten 3-0 by Chennaiyin FC in the last league match of the season. He retired after amassing 429 appearances in his 14 years as a professional player.
Manuel Friedrich is the lone German player in the history of Indian Super League, and only time will tell if the record books will need to be updated again.
To conclude this, we will leave you with what Manuel Friedrich had to say about Indian football.
” Playing in India is very different to playing in Germany and England. Here the supporter create a great atmosphere irrespective of which team you are representing. The ISL is a major step towards making football the second biggest sports in the country.”