Football as a sport is growing rapidly in India, with a number of youngsters taking up the sport as they look to become professionals and represent their country. The presence of the Indian Super League (ISL) and I-League has seen a lot of young players come into the limelight, while the more experienced players who shown that they deserve to be well-known names in the country.
Here, we take a look at the five most valuable Indian centre-backs, as per Transfermarkt.
1. Sandesh Jhingan (ATK Mohun Bagan) - ₹2.08 Cr
The recipient of the Arjuna Award in 2020 for outstanding achievement in sports, Sandesh Jhingan is the rock at the back for both club and country and is without doubt, the most well-known defender in Indian football at present.
The 27-year-old was impressive for ATK Mohun Bagan in 2020/21 ISL, leading the club to the finals, only to fail at the final hurdle.
2. Raju Gaikwad (SC East Bengal) - ₹1.04 Cr
Raju Gaikwad might not have been in the scheme of things when it came to representing India for a long time, but there is no doubt that he is one of the best defenders in the country - capable of playing both as a centre-back and a full-back.
The 30-year-old has loads of experience and is an asset for any club he plays for.
3. Sumit Rathi (ATK Mohun Bagan) - ₹1.04 Cr
Named the 2019/20 ISL Emerging Player of the Year, Sumit Rathi is one of the most exciting young names in Indian football and has impressed in the limited games he has played so far. At only 19-years-old, he has been tipped by many to have a bright future ahead.
4. Pratik Chaudhari (Bengaluru FC) - ₹1.04 Cr
Pratik Chaudhari is a veteran on the Indian football circuit, despite being only 31-years-old - with the centre-back playing for a number of clubs so far, including Mohun Bagan, Mumbai, Kerala Blasters, Delhi Dynamos among others.
The defender signed for Bengaluru FC in 2020 and while not a regular is still someone who has a lot to offer on the pitch.