Indian Football team Captain Sunil Chhetri turns 36 today. Sunil Chhetri is one of India’s most successful footballers as he is also the highest goal scorer for India (72 goals in 115 games). Sunil ranks at 2nd behind Cristiano Ronaldo in the current top-goals-scoring footballer’s list. He is the joint-tenth highest goal scorer in the history of international football.
Chhetri has represented Mohun Bagan, JCT, East Bengal, Dempo, Kansas City Wizards, Chirag United, Mohun Bagan, Sporting CP B, Churchill Brothers, Bengaluru FC, and Mumbai city.
He played a Pivotal role in Bengaluru’s I-League title wins in 2013-14 and 2016-17. Later he went on to win ISl with Bengaluru in 2017.
The Beginning of Sunil Chhetri
Chhetri began his club career with Mohun Bagan in 2002. Here he played for three years before moving to JCT in 2005. His debut match saw him score against India’s arch-rivals Pakistan. Chhetri scored only twice in his first season as a professional at Mohun Bagan. However, it was in his first season in I-League where he started to shine as Chhetri scored seven goals to help JCT finish the season in third place.
Chhetri has represented some of the greatest clubs in Indian Football like like East Bengal and Dempo SC. Soon he started getting international interest from British clubs like Queens Park Rangers, Celtic, and Leeds United among others.
Moves outside India
In an Interview, Chhetri said “Nothing has been confirmed as yet but yes, I think I am close to getting there.” indicating that there was a chance of him signing in England. However, in the end, a move never materialized.”
When Chhetri’s move got dissolved due to the British Visa issue, Chhetri responded “It’s not the end of the world. I will still continue to work hard for my country and my club Dempo, who have been very supportive.”
Sunil signed for Kansas City Wizards in 2010 and was involved in the club’s Pre-Season matches including one with Manchester United. However, lack of game time and opportunities saw him return to India.
However, Sunil did get his move to Europe when he signed for Sporting Clube de Portugal B on 4 July 2012. It was reported Chhetri signed a 2-year contract at the Portuguese club. He made his debut in the Segunda Liga match against S.C. Freunde in which he came on in the 85th minute as Sporting CP B won the match 2–0.
Chhetri is often regarded as the most lethal and prolific goal scorer for the Indian football team. The Captain has played key roles in a number of triumphs for India. In the qualifying campaign for the 2019 Asia Cup, Chhetri scored 8 goals and made sure India got into Asia’s premier football tournament for the only third time in history. Sunil has been named AIFF Player of the Year for a record six times in 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2017, and 2018–19.
Despite his age Sunil Chhetri shows no sign of stopping. He wants to play for another “3, 4, 5 more years.”