Sunil Chhetri, the Indian Football team captain celebrates his 34th Birthday. The Telangana born is one of the greatest Indian footballers who has more number of International Goals than Lionel Messi. He has a total tally of 71 goals in international career opposed to the 68 goals of Argentinian Lionel Messi. Although India may not be a football crazy nation, this lad’s achievements and contribution towards the country is worth celebrating.
Here are 10 things to know about the Indian Captain
1. Not many know that his father K.B Chhetri, who was an officer in Electronics and Mechanical Engineer corps of the Indian Army played for the army’s national team. And his mother Sushila Chhetri played for Nepal’s Women’s national team.
2. He has won the All India Football Federation Player Of The Year not just once but four times in 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014.
3. Chhetri holds the record for the most number of goals at an international level. Since 2005, he has scored 71 goals for the Indian national side.
4. Sunil Chhetri has the world’s highest goals per match ratio in International football among current players like Messi and Ronaldo. Counting the number of goals per match ratio, his ratios are 0.61, which is higher than Lionel Messi’s 0.52 and Cristiano Ronaldo’s 0.54.
5. In 2010, Chhetri became the third player from the subcontinent to be signed by a foreign club. He joined Kansas City Wizard of Major League Soccer and later he also played for Sporting de Portugal of the Primeira League.
6. With 111 caps, Sunil Chhetri is the second Indian footballer after Baichung Bhutia (104) to have over 100 international caps.
7. Sunil Chhetri is married to his long-time girlfriend Sonam Bhattacharya who is an MBA graduate from Scotland and runs two hotels in Kolkata. And she is also the daughter of Mohun Bagan legend Subrata Bhattacharya.
8. For his tremendous performance, Chhetri was honored with Arjuna Award in 2011 which he dedicated to his family.
9. Sunil Chhetri was signed in for Queens Park Ranger in Barclays Premier League. But unfortunately his visa was denied by the UK government and the reason was Indian football team’s poor performance in FIFA rankings. As per British rules, non-EU players are allowed to have visas only if their country is ranked within the 70th position in FIFA rankings.
10. Currently, Chhetri plays for Bengaluru FC in ISL and has helped his team win the season trophy for the first time.