In India and around the rest of the globe, Sunil Chhetri has established himself as one of the most prominent football players. He has had a moreover successful career as a player and captain of the Indian football team, winning several games and awards.
For a while now, Sunil Chhetri has served as the face of Indian football. His standing as one of the greatest football players in history has been established in both India and the rest of the globe. He has had a successful career as a player and captain of the Indian football team, winning several games and awards. Let’s look at a few little-known details from Chhetri’s amazing career as he turns 39 today.
Asia’s second-highest goal scorer, Sunil Chhetri
The second-highest goal scorer in Asia is Sunil Chhetri, the captain of India. Chhetri has scored 90 goals overall from 138 games. With 109 goals in 148 games, only former Iranian footballer Ali Daei from Asia has more.
Fourth-highest scorer in history is Sunil Chhetri
The Indian skipper however recently eclipsed Malaysia’s Mokhtar Dahari (89 goals) to move up to fourth place among all-time leading goal scorers in international football. Only renowned Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo (123) and World Cup-winning star Lionel Messi (103 goals each), former Iranian footballer Ali Daei (109 goals), and Chhetri are more prolific goal scorers.
Among current international players
Chhetri is third among current players in terms of goals scored by international footballers. However the only players ahead of the Indian skipper are Lionel Messi (103 goals) and Cristiano Ronaldo (123 goals).
Almost got into a English football club
In 2009, Chhetri committed to a three-year deal with Queens Park Rangers in the English League Championship. However, Chhetri’s goal was dashed when the British government refused to provide him a work visa since India did not rank among the top 70 nations in the FIFA World Rankings.
Indian player in Major League Soccer
When Chhetri signed with the American team Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer, he finally got his opportunity. Chhetri became the first Indian player in the league as a result.
AIFF honours record
Chhetri also shattered the record for the most Player of the Year honours an Indian football player has received from the AIFF. Seven times in all, he has received the honour: in 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2019, and 2022.
Khel Ratna Award winner
Chhetri received the Khel Ratna Award, India’s highest sports distinction, in 2021 from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. He further got this coveted prize for the first time ever as a football player.
In honour of Chhetri’s 34th birthday in 2018, the Asian Football Federation, the region’s regulatory body for football moreover, gave him the title of “Asian Icon.”
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