Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri was bagged by Mumbai City FC for a massive Rs 1.20 crore, while defending champions Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) sprang a big surprise by picking up defender Rino Anto for Rs 90 lakh at the 2015 Indian Super League (ISL) players auction in Mumbai on Friday.
Four-time All India Football Federation (AIFF) Player of the Year, Chhetri had the highest base price in the auction at Rs 80 lakh. The prolific forward has made 87 international appearances and scored 50 goals for India.
"As a player I understand when you lose a game and do well, the next game and next day brings about a new challenge. I am very happy and thankful that I am bought by Mumbai City FC," the 30-year-old said at a press conference in Mumbai.
Chhetri also said he was looking forward to play alongside the team's marquee player-cum-manager, French great Nicolas Anelka.
"Who wouldn't be happy and excited to play alongside Nicolas Anelka. We saw him last year and we know what he can do with the ball. I am looking forward and excited to play with Anelka and the whole team," the India captain said.
Chhetri plays for Bengaluru FC in the I-League and helped the club to the title in 2014, becoming the joint top-scorer in the league that year. Chhetri didn't play in the the first edition of ISL after his club refused to release him for the tournament.
The auction of 10 footballers was divided into two phases, Pool A and Pool B, with five players in each group. Chhetri was the star in Pool A of the auction, while Anto grabbed attention in the second Pool.
Midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh, who had a base price of Rs.27.5 lakh, was bought by FC Pune City for a whopping Rs.1.05 crore. In 62 I-League appearances, he has scored eight goals. The 28-year-old played for Bengaluru FC in the I-League last season.
Anto, 27, who plies his trade with Bengaluru as a right-back and had a base price of a Rs 17.5 lakh, was bagged by ATK for Rs 90 lakh after withstanding some hostile bidding from Mumbai.
Bengaluru midfielder Thoi Singh, with a base price of Rs 39 lakh, was bought by Chennaiyin FC for Rs 86 lakh. The 24-year-old has scored eight goals in 37 I-League appearances.
Japanese-born Indian midfielder Arata Izumi was also lapped up by Atletico for Rs 68 lakh. His base price was Rs 40 lakh.
Goalkeeper Karanjit Singh, commanding a base price of Rs 60 lakh, was sold at his base price, picked up by Chennaiyin FC.
Seityasen Singh, who plays for Royal Wahingdoh, was roped in by North East United FC, owned by Bollywood star John Abraham, at a price of Rs 56 lakh. His starting price was Rs 23 lakh.
Bengaluru forward Robin Singh was bagged by Delhi Dynamos FC for Rs 51 lakh, Rs 11 lakh more than his base price.
Royal Wahingdoh's medio Jackichand Singh was lapped up by FC Pune City for Rs 45 lakh. The 23-year-old had a base price of Rs 20 lakh. The midfielder has five goals in 18 I-league appearances.
Defender Anas Edathodika, 28, was bought by Dynamos for Rs 41 lakh. He featured for Pune FC in I-League last year. He has made 53 appearances for his club so far and had a base price of Rs 40 lakh.
No player went unsold at the auction for the second edition of the ISL that is scheduled to start on October 3.