India, a land steeped in rich cultural heritage, has also embraced the beautiful game of football with open arms. The Indian football system, though relatively young compared to its European counterparts, has witnessed the rise of some of the most passionate clubs and talented players that have etched their names in the annals of sporting history.
From the iconic Mohun Bagan AC, the oldest football club in India, to the vibrant Bengaluru FC, the Indian football landscape is dotted with clubs that have captivated fans and inspired generations of players. These clubs have not only dominated the domestic scene but have also made their mark on the international stage.
The Indian Super League (ISL), launched in 2014, has revolutionized the Indian football scene, injecting a dose of glamour and professionalism. The ISL has attracted not only top Indian players but also international stars, raising the overall quality of the game.
The Indian football system has produced some of the country’s most celebrated footballers, including Baichung Bhutia, Sunil Chhetri, and Subrata Paul. These stalwarts have not only excelled on the domestic stage but have also represented India with distinction on the international front.
As India gears up for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2023, the future of Indian football looks bright. The country’s young talent, coupled with the growing infrastructure and passion for the game, promises an exciting chapter in the Indian football story.
Best football clubs in India
Mohun Bagan Super Giant won the Indian Super League season 2002-23. The final battle was between Mohun Bagan SG and Bengaluru FC at the Fatorda stadium in Margao. The match ended at 2-2 after time. Eventually, Bagan Super Giant defeated Bengaluru in the penalty shootout by 4-3 and secured their first ISL title.
The new season 2023-24 has already started and all the clubs are fighting to their full capacity to become the Indian Super League Champion. Here are the 10 best Indian football clubs in 2023-24.
Please note that rankings are given based on the recent performance of the respective clubs. Although there are many clubs, here we’re adding those teams playing in the top flight of Indian football.
Listed: 10 Best Indian Football Clubs in 2023-24
1. Mumbai City FC
Mumbai City is one of the most successful clubs in the Indian Super League. It was founded on 30 August 2014. Maybe you would know that Mumbai City is the division of the European Premier League club Manchester City.
The club hasn’t done much in recent years. City failed to win last year’s ISL trophy and was satisfied with the league title victory. In season 2022, the club ended as runner-up in the Durand Cup. The last time Mumbai City won the Indian Super League was in the season 2020-21. In a sparking final City beat ATK Mohun Bagan by 2-1.
Mumbai City always targets the new talent by their city which gives the extra strength to the squad. Akash Mishra is the new signing this summer which is a perk for the team.
2. Bengaluru FC
Bengaluru FC is one of the most youngest and successful clubs in Indian Football and it was founded in 2013. The club has also blasted in the Indian Super League. Bengaluru has won one ISL trophy and was runner-up twice. The most recent was last season when the club lost the ISL final to the ATK Mohun Bagan.
The Blues have won India’s top-tier final three times. The club has tested three Federation Cups and one Durand Cup. The club is focusing on strengthening its attacking position with the signing of Curtis Main and Ryan Williams.
In the 2023-24 ISL season, we can expect that Bengaluru will have a big blast.
3. Mohun Bagan Super Giant
Mohun Bagan Super Giant is the oldest club the Indian football history, it was founded in 1889. The club is the defending champion of the Indian Super League. Currently, in season 2023-24, the team is standing third in the ISL with 4 wins, 0 draws, and 0 losses.
On six occasions, Mohun Bagan has won the top-flight competition. The club has lifted Durand Cups 16 times and Federation Cups 14 times which is a record in Indian Football.
Mohun Bagan SG gets special support from their supporters as the club’s history is very rich. The second reason is the club is located in Kolkata, widely known as the football city of India.
4. FC Goa
Football Club Goa is an Indian professional football club based in Margo, Goa, and considered one of the best football clubs in India. The club was founded on 24 August 2014. FC Goa is one of the most promising teams in the Indian Super League. The club can’t win any ISL final but was runner-up two times, first in 2015 and second in 2018.
In the last season of ISL, Goa couldn’t perform well and was eliminated in the league stages. Post to which many fans were disappointed and expressed their sadness and anger on social media.
To get the pace in ISL, FC Goa has signed Spanish coach Manolo Márquez who is leading the club in the season.2023-24
5. Hyderabad FC
Hyderabad FC’s entry into the Indian Super League was quite last as compared to other respective clubs. The club was founded on 27 August 2019. The big deal is that the club won the ISL final in their third season i.e, in 2020-21. In the final Hyderabad defeated Kerala Blasters in a penalty shootout by 3-1.
The club also performed well in season 2022-23 and lost to ATK Mohun Bagan in the semi-final. Losing their ISL-winning coach Manolo Márquez is now costing the club. Currently, in season 2023-24, the club isn’t doing well and standing at 11th position with 0 wins, 2 draws, & 3 losses in 5 matches.
6. Chennaiyin FC
Chennaiyin Football Club is an Indian Professional club based in Tamil Nadu, Chennai. The club competes in the Indian Super League and is the top flight-of Indian football. It was founded in August 2014.
Chennaiyin FC’s performance in ISL is quite impressive. In ISL season 2017-18, the club beat Bengaluru in a charismatic final by 3-2 and was runner-up in 2019 and lost the final to Mohun Bagan.
In season ISL 2023-24, Chennaiyin stood in seventh position with 2 wins, 0 draws, and 4 losses.
7. Kerala Blasters FC
Kerala Blasters FC is a professional football club based in Kochi, Kerala. The club was founded in May 2014. Kerala Blasters is the most unfortunate team in the Indian Super League. The clubs have been into the ISL final thrice but can’t win any of them.
The Tuskers lost the ISL season 2014-15 final to the Mohun Bagan by 1-0, the second time they lost the final of 2016-17 to Mohun Bagan. Finally most recently, in ISL season 2021-22, Kearala lost to Hyderabad FC by 3-1 in the penalty shootout.
Ahead of ISL season 2023-24, the Blasters have lost their key players, Sahal Abdul Samad, Harmanjot Singh Khabra, and Jessel Carneiro. But the team is performing excellently and holds the second position at the current ISL table behind Goa FC.
8. Jamshedpur FC
Jamshedpur FC entered late in Indian Super League as it was founded in 2017. The club is owned by Tata Group. The club can’t win any ISL trophy so far and the closest was the season 2021-22. In 2021-22, they finished on top of the ISL table in the league stage but failed to win the ISL trophy.
In most of the season, Jamshedpur finishes at the middle of the table and their fans are still waiting for the first victory for their club. Scott Cooper has been appointed as the new head coach for the team.
Currently, in season 2023-24, Jamshedpur club is standing in the ninth position with 1 win, 2 draws, and 3 losses.
9. East Bengal FC
East Bengal Football Club is the second oldest club in the India Super League after Mohun Bagan. The club is based in Kolkata, West Bengal, and was founded in 1902. It is one of the most successful clubs in India. But, we’re ranking based on performances in the Indian Super League.
In ISL East Bengal can’t make an impact. In season 2022-23, the team finished in ninth position on a level with Jamshedpur FC. After playing three seasons in ISL, the clubs can’t even make it to the top of the table. So, in the hope of improvement, the club hired Carles Cuadrat as a new manager.
In the 2023-24 season, it seems nothing is working out for the East Bengal. The club stands in the tenth position with 1 win, 1 draw, and 3 losses.
10. Odisha FC
Odisha Football Club is a professional football club in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. The club was founded on 14 October 2014, the same season ISL has started. It’s unfortunate for the club that they can’t make it to any one of the ISL finals.
The club indeed made noticeable progress in these years but not enough to win the ISL final. In 2022, the club won the Hero Super Cup after being eliminated in the playoff of the ISL. Like any other club, they are looking to make an impactful improvement and to do that they made some significant new signings.
Odisha FC signed experienced players Ahmed Jahouh and Mourtada Fall which could be key factors for the club. They also have assigned a new coach Sergio Lobera for the ISL season 2023-24. The good news is Odisha FC performing fine in ISL and standing fifth in the ISL table.