By Juliana Pasker
Sunil Chhetri is an Indian professional footballer who plays as a striker for Indian club Bengaluru FC and the Indian national team. He is both the most-capped player, and all-time top goalscorer for the India national team, with 54 goals in 94 appearances. He is also the current captain of the national team.
Sunil Chhetri became the fourth highest goal scorer for their nation among active players. With the 54th goal in his bucket against the Kyrgyz Republic, Sunil Chhetri surpassed England’s star player Wayne Rooney.
It also seats him fourth from the top among the active scorers in the highest international goalscorers’ list. He is only behind Cristiano Ronaldo (73 in 139 matches), Lionel Messi in (58 in 118 matches) and American Clint Dempsey (56 in 134 matches) in the overall tally. Ronaldo, Messi and Dempsey chalk up a 0.49, 0.42 and 0.45 strike rate while Chhetri’s more efficient boots bring him a 0.57 goal to match ratio.
There are only three players ahead of him – Neymar Junior (0.68, Brazil), Ali Ashfaq (0.68, Maldives) and Edin Dzeko (0.63, Bosnia) – when it comes to scoring rate.
Needless to say, he is the country’s highest international goal scorer, having overtaken Bhaichung Bhutia’s 43 scalps back in 2013. It is only a matter of time that Chhetri, who is six short of a century of appearances for his country will edge past Bhutia’s 109 India caps as well.
He has expressed his desire to participate in the 2019 Asian Cup to be held in the UAE, should his country qualify.
Chhetri’s goal against Kyrgyzstan in Bangalore not only helped India win the crucial AFC Asian Cup Qualifier in Bangalore but also increased his greatness quotient for the cricket-crazy country. This comes as another encouraging news for Indian football. Under coach Stephen Constantine, India have rapidly improved their FIFA rankings to stand in the top 100 for the first time in 21 years.