Arsenal legend to come out of retirement for Indian Super League

And he could be playing against former Chelsea and Manchester United rivals.

Crespo, Yorke, Pires and Ljungberg. In what sounds like a wish list for a long lost noughties sticker album, some of the world's former footballing superstars could be about to pull on their football boots again for one last hurrah.

A shortlist of former greats is currently being compiled to take part in the Indian Super League, set to begin next year.

Based on the successful cricket Premier League in India, franchises will be able to bid on the star they want to sign for their club in a preseason auction likely to be held between January and March.

Many of the players are only one or two seasons into retirement, and are eager to get back out on the pitch for what would promise to be a rewarding final payday. These players would be the superstars that are selected to attract international interest alongside their Indian teammates, with ten foreign players (including a marquee player), eight domestic players and four local players set to make up the 22 man squad, and could cause the sport to explode in a country likely to be the most populous on Earth by 2028.

Former Arsenal and France star Pires, who last played professionally for Aston Villa in 2011, has been training with the Premier League leaders this season, and ESPN reports that he couldn't wait to play the beautiful game again.

"I'm on the shortlist to go to India and I cannot wait to be there," Pires told former teammate Bixente Lizarazu on RTL. "The shortlist is what we would simply call a 'draft', just like the Americans do in basketball. The Indians use it for cricket. That's what they want to do with football. We'll see what happens, but it should start at the beginning of 2014."

A clutch of Indian cities are eager to host a franchise, with other world stars such as Peter Schmeichel and Marcel Desaily in line to coach them.

images: © Ronnie Macdonald, © markusunger

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