INDIA: Professional Indian Footballer Sunil Chhetri who plays as a striker or winger and captains both the Indian Super League side Bengaluru FC and the Indian national football team surpassed Lionel Messi to become the second-highest active international goal scorer. Chhetri is on the second number just behind Portugal legend Cristiano Ronaldo.
Chhetri achieved the feat while playing against Bangladesh in the joint preliminary qualifying round match for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup. The footballer has also helped India to register their first win in six years in World Cup qualifiers.
Chhetri scored two goals against Bangladesh in qualifiers thus completing his 74 international goals. He is just 29 goals behind Ronaldo who has a total of 103 goals. In total, Chhetri has scored five goals in five games against Bangladesh.
In a virtual press conference, Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac praised Chhetri and said, “Last year many people were asking last year or so, ‘when is Sunil going to retire?’ What are we going to do then if he retires?. By far, in every training, he (Chhetri) is our best player.”
Many celebrities and Sportsperson reacted to Chhetri’s performance against Bangladesh and also praised him for surpassing one of the greatest football players of all time Lionel Messi in goal tally.
Journalist Ramesh Bala tweeted, “Indian Football Captain #SunilChhetri overtakes #LionelMessi to become the second-highest active international goal-scorer…
- CristianoRonaldo – 103 Goals
- SunilChhetri – 74 Goals
- AliMabkhout – 73 Goals
- #LionelMessi – 72 Goals
President of All India Football Federation, Praful Patel tweeted, “Our @IndianFootball skipper Sunil Chhetri adds another feather to his illustrious cap as he overtook Lionel Messi to become the second-highest active international goalscorer with 74 goals. A big congratulations to Captain Fantastic & wishing him many more accolades in the future.”