ISL: Riise Chennaiyin FC’s marquee as teams look to retain familiar faces

  • Dhiman Sarkar, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: Aug 18, 2016 17:46 IST
Riise played for Delhi Dynamos last season. (Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)

Clarifying like The Eagles did when they regrouped after a long gap, John Arne Riise returns to the Indian Super League (ISL) saying he hadn’t retired but was merely taking a break. Riise, 35, will be the marquee player for Chennaiyin FC in the third edition of the Indian Super League (ISL). He was with Delhi Dynamos last season.

Three other teams --- Kerala Blasters, Mumbai City FC and Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) --- have named marquees for ISL 3 that is scheduled to begin in early October. Among them Helder Postiga, who is back at ATK, and Riise have prior ISL experience. 

Should talks with Florent Malouda, Lucio and Simao Sabrosa go forward, it is possible Delhi Dynamos, FC Goa and Northeast United FC respectively too would retain their top player. 

Diego Forlan, who will be Mumbai City FC’s marquee, has visited India but hasn’t played a competitive match. Ditto for Aaron Hughes, who will suit up for Kerala Blasters and Eidur Gudjohnsen, who could for FC Pune City as a marquee. 

“Back in June I decided to take a break from football but I always kept the door open for a return and after speaking to Marco (Materazzi, the Chennaiyin FC coach) I found the motivation again to work hard. So I would like to thank Marco and the Chennaiyin FC owners for believing in me. Marco especially had a big influence in my decision. I am honoured to have the chance to play and work under Marco. Working closely with him will be a great experience for me for my future coaching career also,” said the defender who played for Liverpool from 2001 to 2008 and won the Champions League in 2005. 

Riise has also played for Roma, Fulham and APOEL FC and is Norway’s most capped player with 110 internationals. 

Following his stint with Delhi Dynamos, where he scored one goal in 15 appearances, Riise returned to Norway where he played for Aalesunds FK, with whom he had started his career before moving to Monaco where he won the French league. Known for his long-rangers and free-kicks, Riise made 10 appearances there between March and May this year and has joined Chennaiyin FC on a free transfer. 

“John has had a fantastic career already and was very consistent in last year’s ISL. He will be a very important player for us both on and off the pitch,” said Chennaiyin FC head coach Marco Materazzi.

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