Subrata Pal

Subrata Pal

Pal in 2008
Personal information
Date of birth (1986-11-24) 24 November 1986
Place of birth Sodepur, West Bengal, India
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)[1]
Playing position Goalkeeper
Club information
Current team
NorthEast United FC
(on loan from DSK Shivajians)
Number 1
Youth career
2002–2004 Tata Football Academy
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2004–2007 Mohun Bagan 1 (0)
2007–2009 East Bengal 31 (0)
2009–2012 Pune 40 (1)
2012–2013 Prayag United 15 (0)
2013 Rangdajied United 6 (0)
2014 FC Vestsjælland 0 (0)
2014–2015 Mumbai City 26 (0)
2015Salgaocar (loan) 15 (0)
2016–DSK Shivajians (loan) 11 (0)
2016– NorthEast United FC 6 (0)
National team
2007– India 64 (0)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 17:00, 6 April 2016 (UTC).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 21:30, 27 December 2015 (UTC)

Subrata Pal (Bengali: সুব্রত পাল) (born 24 November 1986) is an Indian professional footballer who currently plays for Indian Super League side NorthEast United, on loan from DSK Shivajians in the I-League.

Club career

Mohun Bagan

A graduate of the Tata Football Academy, Subrata Paul started his senior career with Mohun Bagan in 2004. During the 2004 Federation Cup final against Dempo on 5 December 2004, he was involved in an incident where Dempo forward Cristiano Júnior lost his life after the two collided. However, the shocking lack of facilities and doctors during the game was highlighted as a result of the incident and this led to significant changes in the I-League.[2]

East Bengal

Subrata was signed by local rivals East Bengal in 2007. He was an important figure for his team during the time he spend for the Kolkata-based club and was adjudged the I-League's best goalkeeper in 2007 for his outstanding shot-stopping abilities, an example of which was in East Bengal's Federation Cup winning campaign of 2007, resulting in his team qualifying for the AFC Cup 2008. Subrata appeared 31 times in the league for East Bengal and was the first choice 'keeper for the Kolkata-based team.[3]


On 2 June 2009, Subrata joined Pune.[4] In the middle of the I-League 2009-10 season, Subrata had a trial stint with Canadian side Vancouver Whitecaps in the summer of 2010. Subrata expressed his desire to play abroad in the professional leagues of North America, Europe and Asia.

Subrata in Pune colours

He later said that "There was no offer coming from any club agent of any country during the Asian Cup. But I am looking for any offer to play abroad. Europe is the best place to play. But I am game to go to countries like South Korea, Japan, Australia and even the West Asian countries like Qatar, Saudi Arabia."[5]

Prayag United

Pal signed for Prayag United of the I-League on 9 May 2012.[6] He made his debut for the club on 7 October 2012 against Air India at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata, a match Prayag won 5–1.[7]

Pal started off well in the 2011-12 I-League, impressing the new coach, however his form would soon wear thin. On 29 December 2012, Prayag United lost to I-League struggles Sporting Goa. The next seven matches from the afore mentioned defeat, his team lost 5 and drew once and this was enough for his coach to replace Subrata with Sangram Mukherjee in the remaining league matches of the season.

Rangdajied United

Subrata signed for IMG-Reliance to play in the new franchise league, the Indian Super League.[8] However, due to signing-up for the ISL, the I-League clubs refused to sign Subrata as they were all opposed to the Indian Super League,[8] but, on 20 November 2013, despite rejecting ISL signed players earlier, Rangdajied United of the I-League agreed to sign Pal along with fellow IMG-Reliance contracted players Gouramangi Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Manandeep Singh, and Tomba Singh.[9] He made his debut in the I-League on 22 November 2013 against Shillong Lajong at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Shillong in which he played the whole match as Rangdajied drew 1–1.[10]

FC Vestsjaelland

On 9 January 2014, it was confirmed that Paul had signed for FC Vestsjælland of the Danish Superliga, thus becoming the fourth Indian footballer to play professionally abroad, the second to join a top-tier European side, and the first Indian goalkeeper to play abroad.[11] Despite signing on as member of the squad, he did not make any appearance for the first team and only appeared with the reserve squad.[12]

Mumbai City FC

Subrata was drafted in by ISL club Mumbai City FC during the 2014 edition of the league and was the first choice 'keeper for his team until 2015, appearing 26 times in the league format. Subrata's performance was notable but not enough to help his team into the semi-finals.[13]


Subrata joined Salgaocar of the I-League on loan from Mumbai City FC for the season as fellow Indian international Karanjit Singh, the regular 'keeper of Salgaocar would miss most of the 2014-15 I-League season due to injury.[14]

International career

Subrata has played for India at all age groups. He rose to prominence with the Under-23 team in the Pre-Olympic qualifiers where he pulled off 3 saves in a crucial penalty shootout against Myanmar hence enabling India to qualify for the Group stage. In the group stages his goalkeeping abilities helped India pull off an unexpected draw at home against the formidable Iraq.

In 2007 he replaced Sandip Nandy as the Indian Senior Team's number 1 for the Nehru Cup in 2007 where he was adjudged the best goalkeeper in a competitive field which included the likes of Mosab Balhous.

Subrata is the 1st Indian Footballer who joined the 1st Division Club of Europe . He played for 1st Divission team FC Vestejaelland of Denmark.

Nehru Cup 2007

Paul was noted for his sharp goalkeeping as part of Baichung Bhutia's successful Indian team of the Nehru Cup 2007. His saves were noted in the semi-finals against Kyrgyzstan,[15] which enabled India to reach the finals of this tournament for the first time. In the final, India faced Syria, against whom they had lost an earlier group stage match.[16] In this match, he together with Mahesh Gawli of Goa and other defenders, staved off wave after wave of attack by the pre-match favourites, Syria.[17] India defeated Syria by a 1–0 margin to win the tournament for the first time. Indian team coach Bob Houghton said that "Subrata Pal was splendid in the goal",[17] while The Hindu wrote:

India owed the triumph immensely to an impeccable performance under the bar by Subrata Paul. His anticipation in cutting off Syria’s aerial forays was the most striking feature of the contest.[18]

AFC Challenge Cup 2008

He was part of the victorious Indian National team in the AFC Challenge Cup 2008. His important saves especially in the finals helped India qualify for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup for the first time in 24 years.

Nehru Cup 09

He was also part of the victorious Indian National team in the Nehru Cup International Football Tournament 2009 He was involved in three spectacular saves, and put the Cup back in India's hands. Due to his keeping, India won the final match 5–3 on penalties. He stopped the deciding shot on goal to help India clinch the Nehru cup.

AFC Asian Cup 2011

He was the goalkeeper for the Indian football Team in the AFC Asian Cup 2011. He made more than 35 saves in the whole tournament and has become one of the stars of the team since. After the game against South Korea, he made the headlines by some leading newspapers who were calling him 'Spiderman', 'real MVP (Most Valuable Player)' and with headlines like 'Indian team GK, 16 times super-save! Who is this guy?'. To these references, he humbly said, "I am not a spiderman, just a novice learning my goalkeeping. I am happy that I have made those saves and done something for the team and country." The Times of India said that Pal was the best performer among the Indians in the Asian Cup in Doha where they lost all their group matches. Had it not for Pal's heroics, India would have lost by bigger margins in all the three matches.

World Cup 2014 Qualifiers

He was also the first choice goalkeeper for India in their World Cup Qualifier match against UAE. Subrata even captained the side in a warm up practice match for this tie, which India won against Qatar 2–1. He could not repeat his heroics against the UAE side as he was sent off in the first 30 minutes, and India were reduced to 9 men. India lost that game 3–0 as a result of two penalties and ultimately the tie 5–2.

World Cup 2018 Qualifiers

He was named the captain of the Indian national football team by coach Stephen Constantine[19] on 11 March 2015. Under his captaincy the team reached the second round after defeating Nepal on aggregate of 2–0 on the first round of qualification.

Career statistics


Statistics accurate as of 27 December 2015.[20]

National teamYearApps
India 20077

Personal life

Subrata lives with his family in Sodepur (Kolkata). Subrata is married to Debasmita Mukherjee Paul; the daughter of ex-Indian goalkeeper Debashish Mukherjee since 2012. Debasmita is a Ph.D Scholar of Calcutta University.

Awards and Nominations

In 2016 Subrata got the Arjuna Award, the most prestigious award of Sports in India. In 2015, Subrata Paul was nominated for the Times of India Sports Awards along with the likes of Sunil Chhetri, Syed Rahim Nabi, Bala Devi and more.[21]


  3. Subhajyoti Banerjee (2 June 2009). "Pune FC signs Subrata Pal". IndianFootball.Com. Retrieved 3 June 2009.
  4. "I am not a spiderman, says Subrata Paul". The Times of India. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  5. "Paul for United". The Calcutta Telegraph. Calcutta, India. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  6. "Prayag United 5–1 Air India: Ranti Martins' hat-trick grounds the Airmen". Retrieved 19 January 2013.
  7. 1 2 Ghoshal, Amoy. "I-League: Rangdajied United to loan Gouramangi, Subrata and three more IMG-R players". Yahoo News. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  8. "Rangdajied Bolster Their Squad With National Stars". I-League. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  9. "Shillong Lajong vs. Rangdajied United 1–1". Soccerway. Retrieved 27 November 2013.
  10. "Indisk landsholdmålmand er landet i Danmark". FC Vikings. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  13. "ubrata Paul joins Salgaocar on loan". Goal. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
  14. Jaydeep Basu (27 August 2007). "Bhaichung leads dazzling display: India demolish Kyrgyzstan 3–0 to make final for first time". Calcutta, India: The Telegraph (Kolkata). Retrieved 30 August 2007.
  15. Valiant India go down to Syria
  16. 1 2 Press Trust of India (29 August 2007). "This is the beginning of Indian football: Bhaichung". CNN-IBN. Retrieved 30 August 2007.
  17. Vijay Lokapally (30 August 2007). "India wins Nehru Cup". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Retrieved 30 August 2007.
  18. "Subrata Pal named new captain by Constantine". Chris Punnakkattu Daniel. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  19. Subrata Pal at

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