Crespo thrives in Indian football rush

Argentine soccer legend Hernan Crespo fetched US$840,000 in the Premier League Soccer (PSL) auction of players and coaches in Kolkata on Monday.

Hernan Crespo thrives in Indian Football gold rush

Crespo was snapped up by the Barasat franchise for the league which is modelled on cricket`s highly successful Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 tournament and scheduled to take place from February 25 to April 8 in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal.

The idea of a players` auction was borrowed from the IPL, the success of which has spawned numerous franchise-based leagues in other sports across the country.

Italy`s 2006 World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro went to Siliguri for US$830,000, while Robert Pires of France (US$800,000), Nigerian Jay-Jay Okocha (US$550,000) and Liverpool great Robbie Fowler (US$530,000) went to Howrah, Durgapur and Kolkata respectively.

Five franchises collectively spent nearly US$7 million, each buying an `icon` player, two overseas footballers and a coach.

In an otherwise cricket-crazy country, the eastern Indian state of West Bengal is equally passionate about football.

Howrah will boast the PLS`s most expensive coach after shelling out US$240,000 for former Portugal central defender Fernando Couto.

Former Nigerian player and Coach Samson Siasia (Durgapur) and Icelander Teitur Thordorson (Barasat) were both sold for US$210,000.

Former Manchester City and Sunderland manager Peter Reid (Kolkata) and Marco Etcheverry (Siliguri), arguably the greatest Bolivian player, went for US$200,000 each.

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