Indian Footballer Sunil Chhetri has once again given a memorable performance that proves his stature as one of the greatest players of modern times. On Wednesday, he scored a hat-trick against Pakistan in their SAFF Championship opener at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru. His goal tally now stands at 90 from 138 matches, making him the fourth-highest goal scorer in the history of men’s football.
Chhetri is now only behind Ali Daei of Iran (109 goals), Godfrey Chitalu of Zambia (99 goals) and Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal (98 goals). His closest competitor Mokhtar Dahari from Malaysia has 89 goals, but he played four more matches than Chhetri.
The 34-year old Indian Captain has been a flag bearer of the sport in India and has had an illustrious career spanning 15 years. Chhetri made his international debut for India in 2005 against Pakistan, scoring twice during the tournament. He then went on to represent India in numerous internationals, including four editions of the AFC Challenge Cup, the 2014 AFC Asian Cup and two editions of the FIFA World Cup qualification.
He has also represented Indian clubs in various leagues such as I-League, ISL, Federation Cup and Durand Cup. Chhetri is the second highest goalscorer in Indian football history with a tally of 59 goals from 125 matches for India and is also the all-time top goal scorer of the Indian Super League.
Chhetri’s feats have earned him several accolades over the years. In 2011, he was named AIFF Player of the Year and in 2013, he became the first Indian to win the AFC Challenge Cup Golden Boot. He has also been conferred with Arjuna Award (2011), Padma Shri (2019) and several other honors for his immense contribution to Indian football.
Sunil Chhetri’s heroics helped India beat Pakistan 3-1 in their SAFF Championship opener and it is indeed a proud moment for all Indians. His outstanding performance re-affirms his place as one of the greatest players of modern times and we wish him all the best for all his future endeavours.