IM Vijayan remains one of the greatest players to come from India, with the striker becoming the highest player in India club football history during his career as well as forming a successful attacking partnership with another legend, Bhaichung Bhutia.
Here, we take a look at some interesting facts and numbers of the superstar.
1) Inaugural winner of the AIFF Player of the Year award
The striker was the inaugural winner of the AIFF Player of the Year award which was presented in 1992. He remains one of the few players to win the award multiple times, also winning it in 1997 and 2000.
2) Scored one of the fastest ever international goals
Vijayan scored one of the fastest ever international goals in a match against Bhutan in the 1999 SAF Games, where he managed to score in 12 seconds after kickoff. He played a key role in India going on to win the tournament that year.
3) Spent his entire career in India
The 52-year-old spent his entire career in India playing for clubs like Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Churchill Brothers. He decided to stay in the country despite his talent attracting interest from clubs in Malaysia and Thailand.
4) Vijayan moved into acting post retirement
Vijayan moved into acting post his retirement from football, with the legend going on to act in more than 20 movies in Malayalam and Tamil. His 2021 film, ‘Mmmmm’ (sound of pain) was shortlisted as one of India’s official entries for the Oscars.