Sunil Chhetri, who is often referred to a goal machine, is celebrating his 35th birthday today. He was born on August 3, 1984, in Secunderabad, Telangana. For his great contributed to the sport, Chhetri has become the poster boy of Indian football. The soccer star holds reigns of the national team and has guided the team to register many heavy victories against several power-packed international sides. Sunil Chhetri is the second most scorer in the International football after Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo (88) goals. Chettri has hit the nets 71 times. While he is being closely followed by Argentinian striker Lionel Messi who has 68 goals against his name.
Here are some unknown or less-known facts about the Indian football star:
Sunil Chhetri was born in Secunderabad in Telangana, and his parents are from Nepal. His father, KB Chhetri, was an Indian Army officer, who served as an Electronics and Mechanical Engineer. Football is in his blood as his mother, Sushila Chhetri, was also a football player. She has represented in Nepal women’s national team. Chhetri’s wife, Sonam Bhattacharya, is also a daughter of former Indian national football player Subrata Bhattacharya.
Indian football captain, striker and one of the best player, started playing professional football in 2002 and his first domestic club was Mohan Bagan. With his great skills and powerfull strike, he made entry to the international side at a very young age. Along with the Indian national side, Chhetri also leads Bengaluru FC and made the team champion in starting the season of Indian Super League (ISL). He played for Bengaluru from 2013 to 2015 and was later traded to the Mumbai City in 2015 for a whopping amount of Rs 1.2 crores. He was the most expensive Indian player of ISL in 2015. Later, he made his way back and joined Bengaluru FC.
Story of Blue Jersey
He got the first chance to don Blue Jersey in Nehru Cup’s 2007 edition. Sunil Chhetri encashed the opportunity and had power India with 2 strikes. Men in Blue had crushed the opponent Cambodia 6-0 in that match. Before this, he played for Indian U-20 and U-23 sides. Thanks to his power strike India had defeated Pakistan 1-0 in the SAF Games on their soil. For the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup qualification, Chhetri was named as the captain and till date, he leads the side.
Sunil Chhetri, the Indian football skipper, was named as the All India Football Federation Player of the Year for 5 years. He bagged the title for 4 consecutive times in 2007, 2011, 2013 and 2014 and the 5th time he bagged the title in 2017. For his immense contribution to Indian football, in 2011, he was awarded Arjuna award and later highest award for sports personality Padma Shri in 2019. The list for awards his cupboard is too longs which includes FPAI Indian Player of the Year in 2009 and 2018, AFC Challenge Cup Most Valuable Player in 2008, SAFF Championship Player of the Tournament in 2011, Hero of the I-League for the 2016–17 season and the Hero of the Indian Super League for the 2017–18 season.
Rise to Glory
Under the leadership of Sunil Chhetri, Team India won the Nehru Cup 3 times in 2007, 2009 and 2012 and SAFF Championship in 2011. In 2008 AFC Challenge Cup, he had powered India to win the title and had clinched India’s best player award. Thanks to him and his great guidance, India managed to qualify for their first AFC Asian Cup in 27 years in the process.