Real Madrid's Portuguese defender Pepe (L) vies with Eibar's midfielder Borja during the Spanish league football match Real Madrid CF vs SD Eibar at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on April 11, 2015.   AFP PHOTO/ JAVIER SORIANO        (Photo credit should read JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)

6 Foreigners Who Made it to Bigger Leagues After Playing in India

Until the advent of the Indian Super League  (ISL), foreigners who played in India were usually the ones who were scouted from minor leagues across the world and were not impressive enough to make it into top leagues. 

However, the ISL's birth has led to the arrival of top quality foreigners. Some of these players were so impressive that they made it to bigger and better leagues after playing in India.

Let's take a look at six of them.

6. Edu Garcia

Even though he is playing in the Chinese second division, Edu Garcia is a part of our list because of two big reasons. Firstly, the winger, who was signed by Bengaluru FC, was their cheapest foreigner and yet was very influential.

The 28-year old turned out to be so impressive in his short Indian Super League stint that Zhejiang Greentown bought him for an undisclosed fee, believed to be in the region of INR 98 lacs. 

Secondly, making it to Chinese Second Division is no easy task as these clubs have a budget as much as those of some Premier League clubs and are just one division below the Chinese Super League.

5. Darren O'Dea

The 31-year-old Irishman was part of the Mumbai City FC roster in the second season of the Indian Super League in 2015. 

He made nine appearances that year, following which the Republic of Ireland international, signed for Scottish side Dundee and has been playing for them ever since.

The Irishman, who has 21 caps for the national team, is still a regular for the Scottish club and has made 67 appearances for them since joining the team in 2016. 

4. John Goossens

The 29-year-old midfielder was a part of the FC Pune City squad in the first season of the Indian Super League in 2014. 

Despite having to cut short his stint in India due to injury, the Dutchman went on to play for FC Voluntari in Romania, before joining Chicago Fire in the Major League Soccer.

After a solid stint in the United States, he is now back in his home country of the Netherlands, where he is playing for ADO Den Haag in the Eredivisie.

3. Duckens Nazon

The Haitian International, who was a part of Kerala Blasters in the 2016 edition of the Indian Super League, is now a Wolverhampton Wanderers player. 

Having signed for Wolves in January 2017, he has spent two spells out on loan, first at Coventry City, where he scored six goals and provided two assists and now at Oldham Athletic in League Two, where he has chipped in with six goals and three assists. 

The 24-year old Haitian striker is all set to play in the Premier League as Wolves have secured promotion this season.

2. Borja Fernandez

The veteran Spanish midfielder was without doubt the most important part of ATK 's (then known as Atletico de Kolkata) starting eleven in the inaugural season of Indian Super League, as he formed a great partnership with Ofentse Nato, helping the team win the first edition of the league.

Following that, he signed up for SD Eibar in La Liga, helping his side eventually avoid relegation as they went up against the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

After another spell for ATK, he has since gone on to play for Valladolid and Almeria, and has currently been with the former for the entire season, his third spell with the club.

1. Stiven Mendoza

The deadly Colombian striker was part of the Chennaiyin FC squad in the inaugural Indian Super League season in 2014, but his stint was cut short due to injury. Stiven Mendoza then went back to Brazilian giants Corinthians, before returning to Chennai on loan for season two.

The former Under-20 international scored 13 goals in the 2015 ISL to win the Golden Boot award. Following this, he had another loan spell, this time with New York City FC in Major League Soccer. Playing alongside the likes of Andrea Pirlo and David Villa, he scored five goals in 25 matches. 

He then moved to Bahia, back in Brazil, where he had a solid season, scoring eight goals and providing four assists in 31 matches. The 25-year-old Mendoza now plays for Amiens SC in Ligue 1.