India's best football player, Sunil Chhetri, is the only second Indian player to reach the 100-game mark after Bhaichung Bhutia's 104. Lovingly also called 'Captain Fantastic', Chhetri has brilliantly surpassed the record of Lionel Messi for the number of international goals, making him the second-highest active goal-scorer after Ronaldo.
Chhetri plays as a striker or winger and is the captain of the Indian Super League side Bengaluru FC and the Indian national team. He is also the only Indian to play in US Major League Soccer (USA) with Kansas City and Portuguese Liga de Honra with Sporting Club de Lisbon.
With 71 goals in 111 games, he is the most-capped player on the Indian national team and the all-time top goal-scorer.
Chhetri's professional career started at Mohun Bagan in 2002. After which, he moved to JCT, where he scored 21 goals in 48 appearances. In 2010, he signed for the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer, becoming the third player from India of note to go abroad.
After which, he was soon back in India's I-League, where he played for Chirag United and Mohun Bagan before going back abroad. He played for Sporting Clube de Portugal of the Primeira Liga's reserve side.
Awards and Accomplishments
Awards and Accomplishments
As the undisputed captain of both his club and the country, it’s no surprise that he has won All India Football Federation (AIFF), ‘Player of the Year’, four times, in 2007, 2011, 2013 and 2014.
Chhetri helped India win the Nehru cup in 2007, 2009 and 2012. He also led India to victory in the 2011 SAFF Championship. He was also one of the best players during the AFC Challenge Cup 2008, in which India won the tournament, qualifying for their first AFC Asian Cup in 27 years.
Why SUNIL CHHETRI?
Chhetri’s decade-and-a-half-long professional career has not been an easy one. But he is undoubtedly enriched by the experiences that would have broken most. Chhetri has a massive social fan-following with over 1.6 Million followers on Twitter and 1.4 Million followers on Instagram.
In 2019, Sunil Chhetri posted a video on his social media, appealing to the public to come to the stadiums to watch football in support of the game. Chhetri’s appeal was endorsed and backed by Virat Kohli who shared it on his own Twitter handle, making the original video viral.
From being a middle-class boy who would stitch his boots for the lack of money to being the most remarkable and the wealthiest football player that India has seen, his journey has been awe-inspiring!
With his charming and amiable personality, Chhetri is a much loved motivational speaker who can entertain and inspire any crowd with stories and anecdotes from his time in the game.