With the presence of Bollywood stars like Hrithik Roshan (FC Pune City co-owner), Ranbir Kapoor (Mumbai City FC co-owner) and John Abraham (NorthEast United FC co-owner) in the first-ever Indian Super League (ISL) auction, there was drama galore at a city hotel yesterday.
Players like Rino Anto, Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Seityasen Singh were in the centre of some frenetic bidding when their names were announced. But more than the amount bid, it was the manner in which the bids were placed that caught the attention.
In Anto’s case, the Mumbai and Goa franchises, both sitting next to each other, indulged in an intense bidding war. In fact, at times Mumbai’s Ranbir was seen raising his bidding paddle even before Goa’s paddle came down. Eventually, and in true Bollywood style, there was a twist in the tale at the end as Atletico de Kolkata bought the player after joining the bidding war much later.
Hrithik later said he enjoyed spending on talented youngsters Jackichand Singh (R45 lakh) and Eugeneson Lyngdoh (R1.05 crore). “Initially, I was nervous thinking why people are so serious. My heart was beating fast. There’s a lot of money, strategy involved. We got what we needed keeping in mind (head coach) David’s (Platt) strategy. I haven’t had more fun spending money because what we were buying was worth it,” he said.