Bengaluru FC players were the toast of the day at the inaugural Indian Super League auction held in Mumbai, on Friday. Sunil Chhetri, who started with the highest base price of 80 lakh, was sold to Mumbai City FC for Rs 1.2 crore in what was the most expensive deal of the morning.(Atletico de Kolkata Happy With ISL Results)
Joining the Blues' skipper in the one-crore club was midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh, who was sold to FC Pune City for 1.05 crores after starting at a base price of Rs 27.5 lakh.(Chhetri Looking Forward to Play With Anelka)
Named the midfielder of the I-League last season, Lyngdoh enjoyed the form of his life scoring eight and assisting 16 goals for Bengaluru FC. His sublime form saw him earn his first national team call up in the World Cup pre-qualifier against Nepal earlier in the year. The Rs 77.5 lakh increase was the highest on the day.(Roberto Carlos Ready for Dual Role)
"I don't really know how to react to all that unfolded at the auction. All I can say is that I am grateful to God and Pune City FC for handing me this opportunity. It's been a very special year and this chance has only bettered it. I owe a lot of my success to the coaching staff and teammates at Bengaluru FC, said Lyngdoh. (Highlights)
Another big gainer was Bengaluru right-back Rino Anto. The unassuming 27-year-old started with the lowest base price (17.5 lakh) among the 10 players on auction, but wasted no time in attracting suitors who were willing to go the distance for him.
A furious battle between FC Goa and Mumbai City FC suggested Rino would end up at one of the two clubs. But that was till ISL champions Atletico de Kolkata stepped in with a winning bid of Rs 90 lakh.
"It's amusing how the whole auction unfolded. It was a first for me. However, it's great to be part of it. I had a really good season with my club Bengaluru FC and I'm hoping that the form continues when I play for Atletico Kolkata.
"It's been a great year where I even got a national team call up and now this. I am grateful that Atletico thought highly enough of me and bought me at the price they did," said Anto
Bengaluru FC's midfield machine, Thoi Singh, was up second after Jackichand Singh and starting with a base price of Rs 40 lakh, came under the hammer for Rs 86 lakh with Chennaiyin FC winning the battle for him. BFC's Number 9, Robin Singh will be turning up for his home club Delhi Dynamos who snapped him up for Rs 51 lakh.
The Bengaluru FC boys accounted for a total of Rs 4.52 crore from among the total auction spend of Rs 7.22 crore among the franchisees.
The auction apart, Bengaluru had as many as five players picked up from the draft. Nippy left-back Lalchhuanmawia (Rs 15 lakh) will be joining Chhetri at Mumbai City FC while goalkeeper Lalthuammawia Ralte (Rs 13.90 lakh) and midfielder Siam Hanghal (Rs 8.34 lakh) will be headed to NorthEast United FC. CK Vineeth (Rs 15 lakh) and Shankar Sampingiraj (Rs 10 lakh) were snapped up by Kerala Blasters FC.
"The numbers are there for all to see. A staggering 4.52 out of the 7.22 crores spent was on players from Bengaluru FC. It gives us great pride in knowing the lengths ISL franchises went to in a bid to get our boys. It's a testament of everything we are doing at the club and the outcome of today's auction only validates that," said Mustafa Ghouse, COO, Bengaluru FC
"It's fantastic to see the majority of our boys get picked up and selected for the ISL and it only goes to show the strength and quality of our squad, the club. Everyone connected to the club -- players and staff -- should feel proud. I wish the boys all the luck," said Bengaluru coach Ashley Westwood.