Sunil Chhetri is an Indian professional footballer who was born on the 3rd of August 1984 in Secunderabad, India. He is the captain of the Indian national team.
He is a striker for the Indian national team and Bengaluru FC, an Indian club. He is the most capped player in India’s history, as well as the team’s all-time leading goalscorer.
Chhetri began participating in various football competitions at an early age. Chhetri started his professional career at Mohun Bagan in 2002. JCT, the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer, was his next stop.
From 2013 until 2015, he was a member of Bengaluru FC. Chhetri was signed by Mumbai City for Rs. 1.2 crores during the 2015 Indian Super League auctions, making him the most expensive Indian player ever.
On 30th March 2004, Chhetri represented the Indian U-20 team for the first time in the 1-0 victory over the Pakistan U-23 team in the 2004 SAF Games in Pakistan.
In Chhetri’s first international event, the 2007 Nehru Cup, India trounced Cambodia 6-0, with Chhetri scoring two goals.
His outstanding form persisted, and he finally established himself as one of India’s top footballers.
Ascent to Glory
Chhetri rose to prominence and earned a name for himself with the national squad. In 2007, 2009, and 2012, he helped India win the Nehru Cup three times, as well as the SAFF Championship in 2011.
He was also one of India’s finest performers at the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup, helping India win the competition. In the process, the team qualified for the first time in 27 years for the AFC Asian Cup.
With two goals in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, he led India in scoring during their short-lived campaign.
Chhetri began his club career with Mohun Bagan in 2002, and after three years, he transferred to JCT, where he scored 21 goals in 48 games, the most he has ever scored for any team.
When he joined with the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer in 2010, he became the third player from the subcontinent to do so.
He played for Chirag United and Mohun Bagan before returning to India. Chhetri was signed by Sporting Clube de Portugal in the Primeira Liga, where he played for the club’s reserve team.
In the Indian Super League, he also played for Bengaluru FC and Mumbai City FC.
Chhetri was selected as the national team captain for the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup qualifying, which took held in Malaysia. After taking over as captain, he scored 21 goals and led his team to numerous championships.
In 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2017, Chhetri was crowned AIFF Player of the Year for the fifth time. He is the all-time leading goalscorer and most-capped player for the Indian national team, with 56 goals in 97 matches.
In the first encounter of the 2018 Intercontinental Cup, Chhetri scored a hat-trick in a 5–0 triumph over Chinese Taipei. However, Chhetri was dissatisfied with the low turnout at the stadium following the match, and he posted a video on Twitter demanding that people come to the Mumbai Football Arena to support the Indian squad. Fans, celebrities, and renowned cricketers such as Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli rallied around him after his video went viral. For the remainder of the matches, the stadium was packed with a raucous audience. In the tournament’s second encounter, Chhetri made his 100th appearance for India and scored two goals, including one from the penalty spot, in a 3–0 victory over Kenya. Chhetri scored a goal in the next encounter against New Zealand, but India lost 2–1 and missed out on a place in the final. Chhetri equaled Argentina’s Lionel Messi’s tally of 64 international goals after a 2–0 win against Kenya in the Intercontinental Cup final on 10 June, making him the joint-second active international goalscorer behind Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who had 81 goals at the time. With eight goals, he was the tournament’s leading scorer. On January 6, 2019, Chhetri’s brace against Thailand in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup guided India to a record 4–1 victory. Chhetri scored twice in a 2–0 win over Bangladesh in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification match on June 7, 2021.