THE NEW MILLENIUM AND THE BRAZILIAN
MAGIC : 20002009
In 2000, Club won three national level tournaments — Durand Cup defeating Mahindra United by a golden goal, Rovers Cup defeating Churchill Brothers by 2-0 and National Football League for the second time along with Sikkim Governor’s Gold Cup and All Airlines Gold Cup. This year the best ever foreign footballer in India, Brazilian striker, “Green Parrot” Jose Ramirez Barreto joined the team and the football lovers throughout the India were enchanted by his brilliant skill and ball control.
Showing good performance in 2001, the club won National Football League for the third times, Federation Cup defeating Dempo by 2-0, Calcutta Football League, Sikkim Governor’s Gold Cup and Bardoloi Trophy. This year Mohun Bagan created a record as the first ever-Indian football club by winning both the Federation Cup and National Football League in the same year.
In 2002, the football icon of India, Bhaichung Bhutia came back home from Bari FC England, and Mohun Bagan club officials did not make any mistake to sign him in the squad. But the Barreto-Bhutia magic did not click as Bhutia got injury early in the season. Mohun Bagan won All Airlines Gold Cup; no such national level trophies were annexed by the club in this season.
2003 was not a good year for the club regarding the performance. Most of the players of the team were new to Calcutta maidan, inexperienced and thus they failed to carry the pressure of donning the green and maroon jersey. On the other hand, Barreto also left the team for Malaysia due to unknown reason. The only success for the club for this season was the IFA Shield where club defeated archrival East Bengal. As the National Club of India, Mohun Bagan has shown the right way in every moment to other football clubs of India and maintaining the same rhythm in July, 2003 Mohun Bagan as the first Indian Football Club established a residential football academy at Durgapur, West Bengal in association with SAIL.
The bad luck continued for Bagan even in 2004. Club reached the final of Durand Cup, Federation Cup and IFA Shield but lost all the finals. Club took the runners up position in Calcutta Football League. The only success for the club was the All Airlines Gold Cup. This year a new feather of glory was added to Mohun Bagan’s cap. This year FIFA formed an Elite Task Force with 11 clubs from all over the world for the betterment of club football. Mohun Bagan club was selected to be a part of this Task Force along with the famous clubs like River Plate, Bayern Munchen and Manchester United. Swapan Sadhan Basu, the Honorary President of Mohun Bagan represented Mohun Bagan in this Task Force.
In 2005, Mohun Bagan won the First Premier Division Calcutta Football League; other than that no such national level trophies were grabbed by the club in this season.
In 2006, the Brazilian striker Jose Ramirez Barreto again joined the team along with Bhaichung Bhutia. This deadly duo played brilliantly in the Federation Cup and Bhaichung Bhutia with his brilliant effort made Mohun Bagan the champion of this year’s Federation Cup. This was Bhaichung’s first Federation Cup win in Green and Maroon jersey. Mohun Bagan defeated Sporting Club the Goa in the final. Goalkeeper Sangram Mukherjee played extremely well throughout the tournament. Club also reached the final of IFA Shield but lost to Mahindra United. This year Mohun Bagan junior team became the winner of the Manchester United Premier Cup (South Asian Champion) and took part in the final round of Manchester United Cup.
In 2007, Mohun Bagan won the Super Cup (2006-07) defeating Dempo by 4-0. The performance of Bhaichung Bhutia was awesome and he netted thrice in the match. Mohun Bagan grabbed the Calcutta Football League also. Again Brazilian ball player performed brilliantly and helped the club to smash the archrival in all the encounters. This year Mohun Bagan created the history of defeating archrival East Bengal consecutively 6 times in the Calcutta Football League. This year club launched the mascot named “Baggu” on the auspicious Mohun Bagan Day. This is the first time when any football club has launched its mascot. This year on 15th April, FIFA President, Mr. Joseph S. Blatter visited the club tent as a part of his tour to India. Club officials cordially welcomed him and honored him with the green and maroon scarf. Mr. Blatter planted a mahogany tree in the club lawn as a symbol of his arrival. On the same day evening, Mohun Bagan won the derby match against the archrival East Bengal in presence of FIFA president.
In 2008, Mohun Bagan players got the opportunity to play against the famous international World Cupper of Germany, the Player of the Tournament, 2006 World Cup - Oliver Kahn as he wished to play his last international match against the National Club of India. Oliver came here with his club team- Bayern Munchen. Along with Kahn, some other stars like Ze Roberto, Mark Van Bommel were present in the Bayern team. The match was played on 27th May at Salt Lake Stadium in presence of about 1,20,000 crowd. Mohun Bagan lost the match by 0-3 but the young brigade of the club played extremely well in absence of star players like Bhaichung Bhutia, Jose Ramirez Barreto, N. S. Manju, Mohanraj and Deepak Mondal. Lalwampuia, Sangram Mukherjee and Ishfaq Ahmed played brilliantly. It’s the third time Mohun Bagan got the opportunity to play against any international famous player. This year Mohun Bagan club won the Kolkata Football League for the 28th times and also thumped their authority over Federation Cup for the 13th times, defeating Dempo SC in the final by a lone goal from the Brazilian talismanic striker Jose Ramirez Barreto. It was also a memorable year for the Mohun Bagan juniors as this year they qualified for the final round of Yakult Danone Nations Cup- The Junior World Cup from India and took 12th position in the final round. They got the appreciation from the world famous footballer Zinedine Zidane for their brilliant performance throughout the tournament. This same year another feather added to the cap of Mohun Bagan when Prince of Football, Diego Armando Maradona visited the club tent as a part of his tour to Kolkata. It was a rare glory for Mohun Bagan as it’s the first time for any Asian football club when the Prince of Football visited the club tent.
Diego Maradona at Mohun Bagan Ground
Mohun Bagan Junior team that played in Yakult Danone Cup
2009 was a blend of both sweet and bitter experience for the Mohun Bagan supporters. This year Mohun Bagan created the record of winning maximum number of matches at a streak (10 win in a row) in I–League. This rare record got some higher dimensions when FIFA reported it in their official website. Though the trophy luck this year was not with Bagan; they only just managed to grab two – one the Super Cup 2009 and another one is Calcutta Football League 2009. In Durand Cup and IFA Shield finals they tasted the humiliating defeat, both the times against Churchill Brothers. Even in their luckiest tournament i.e. Federation Cup they also returned back from the semi-final after being defeated by archrival East Bengal. Though every Mohun Bagan supporter will surely remember 2009 as a year of revenge, as because this year on 25th October, Mohun Bagan just overpowered arch rival East Bengal by 5–3 in the 4th round match of I–League 2009–10 and took the sweet revenge of “5 goals” defeat they tasted way back in 1975.
Mohun Bagan Team that thrashed East Bengal by 5-3
Coach Karim Bencherifa with "Man of the Match" Edeh Chidi