The team is arguably one of the odds-on crowd favorites, due to the following names:
Peter Reid is one of the most experienced English players and coaches in the game, and is definitely worth his weight in gold in the Inaugural ISL. He enjoyed a long football career in top flight EPL football with Bolton Wanderers for 8 years, Everton for 7 years, followed by a short spell at QPR and finally with Manchester City for 4 years. He has 13 caps for England, and played a total of 529 games in the league as a player, and then went on to coach Manchester City in his final years as a player. He followed this with managerial spells at Southampton, Sunderland and Leeds United. He also coached the England U21 side for a brief period, and was the Thailand national coach in 2009.
He already has some Indian experience too, having coached the Kolkata Camelians in the 2012 Bengal Premier League.
He will have a few key Indian players—an impressive pool of locals—at his disposal. Here is his core group:
Centre-back, and has led India to a Nehru Cup win in 2012. Plays for East Bengal FC, and is one of the most popular Indian footballers currently.
Mohun Bagan winger, and die-hard Liverpool fan.
The 34 year old defender is one of India’s most experienced national players, with 64 caps to his name over more than a decade. He has Mahindra United, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal on his I-League CV, and was Indian Player of the year in 2002. He will be the backbone of this Mumbai team, a la John Terry at Chelsea.
Syed Rahim Nabi
“Nabi”, as he is known, is an all-round Indian international, and has played for more than a decade for India as well as I-League teams like Mohun Bagan and East Bengal FC, as striker initially, but later on as a midfielder and defender too.
He is an East Bengal favorite, and an excellent long-range shooter. He has played for India since his U16 days. In 2013, he was the highest scorer of the AFC Cup along with legend Baichung Bhutia.
Fredrik Ljungberg (CAPTAIN and Marquee player)
An original squad member and winger of Arsenal’s legendary Invincibles side back in 2002-03, and Swedish national captain till his retirement in Euro 2008, scoring 71 goals in total and was the Golden Ball winner in World Cup 2006.
Mumbai’s forwards are relatively inexperienced, with local players like Lalrin Fela, Sushil Kumar Singh and Nadong Bhutia, and Argentine forward Diego Nadaya.
But to top it all off, they have another international legend who could be a marquee player in his own right—the inimitable Frenchman Nicolas Anelka, who was banned after a disgraceful 2010 World Cup and his bust-up with then-coach Raymond Domenech. But he is a Euro 2000 winner, and has played for almost every big club there is, including Real Madrid, Arsenal, PSG, Liverpool, Manchester City, Bolton Wanderers, Juventus and Chelsea—when he played under Mourinho for two title-winning seasons.