Legendary Indian captain Sunil Chhetri was today named an ‘Asian Icon’ by AFC on his 34th birthday and got praised for competing with world’s greatest players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Chhetri(64 goals) is currently the third highest goal scorers amongst the current active footballers, just behind Ronaldo(85 goals) and Messi(65 goals).
Message from AFC
“In the era of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, to be the third highest scoring international footballer in the world is no mean feat, and for an Asian player to be within one goal of Messi’s 65 goals for a national team is a record our latest inductee to the ‘Asian Icons’ list should be proud of,” the AFC wrote.
“As he turns 34 today, we celebrate the career of Sunil Chhetri, India’s most capped player and all-time top goal scorer.”
In a cricket crazy nations he was a ray of hope for football
“In a cricket-mad nation, Chhetri was raised in a footballing family, where his father represented the Indian Army team while his mother and aunt were international footballers for Nepal.”
“Chhetri caught the football fever, but never imagined how far he would go. Little did the India captain know he would go on to surpass a century of caps and score 21 more international goals since 2015 to rival the world’s greatest players of the generation and lead his nation to a fourth AFC Asian Cup in their history with four goals in the qualifiers,” the AFC wrote.
At the age of 34….
“Chhetri is showing no signs of slowing down, recently signing a new contract that will keep him at Bengaluru FC until 2021. January’s AFC Asian Cup in the UAE is the next stop for Chhetri who is looking forward to rubbing shoulders with Asia’s finest once more.
“A journey that would take Chhetri to become one of Indian and Asian footballs greats started when he signed for Mohun Bagan in 2002.”
Chhetri has represented 8 Indian clubs and 2 foreign clubs including Kansas City Wizards in USA and Sporting CP in Portugal. He also played as a substitute for Kansas City against Manchester United, which is a very big deal.