Sunil who had earlier been named as a recipient of the prestigious Padma Shri Award, is the first ever Indian Footballer to be named as the winner of the Khel Ratna.
In his statement, AIFF President Mr. Praful Patel said:
“Congratulations! No one deserves it more than Sunil. He has been the flag bearer and a role model for Indian Football, having won so many laurels for his country and all his clubs over the years. I wish him all the best in his future endeavours, and look forward together to him leading us to unprecedented glories in near future.”
Mr. Kushal Das, General Secretary, All India Football Federation in his statement said:
“My heartiest congratulations to him. The Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award is the pinnacle of all sporting awards in the country and Sunil deserves the Award. He is a living legend, and the icon whom all fans look up to. I wish him all the best for his professional and personal life. You have been a true flag-bearer for Indian Football.”
“I expect this award to be a motivation to all other Indian footballers, and inspire them to reach higher echelons in their career,”
the General Secretary added.
The ceremony is scheduled for November 13, 2021 at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
Sunil on 80 goals is currently tied with Lionel Messi at the second place in the goalscorers list among active footballers at the International level, with Cristiano Ronaldo leading on 115 goals.
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