3 Records that Made Sunil Chhetri an Icon of the Game

Check out the how Sunil Chhetri became a football legend through these three remarkable records that solidified his status as an icon in the sport.

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Saatvik Oberoi
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Sunil Chhetri, Team India's captain, will be retiring from international football today, after a two-decade career that set records for his country. Chhetri, the country's most prolific scorer, stated last month that he would retire following today's World Cup qualifier versus Kuwait.

Chhetri started his football career in 2002. In 2009, it was claimed that he had agreed to play for Queens Park Rangers in the English Championship, however he failed to take up the position due to a work permit denial. The veteran has also played for big Indian clubs, including East Bengal (2008-2009), Dempo (2009-2010), Mumbai City FC (2015-2016), and Bengaluru FC.

Here are the three records of Sunil Chhetri that make him the GOAT of Indian Football

3. Achievements for club and country

The seven-time AIFF Player of the Year has won significant club trophies with the Bengaluru-based club, including the I-League (2014 and 2016), ISL (2019), and Super Cup 2018. He also guided Bengaluru FC towards the AFC Cup finals in 2016. Chhetri contributed to India's victories in the Nehru Cup (2007, 2009, 2012) and the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship (2011, 2015, 2021). He also contributed to India's 2008 AFC Challenge Cup victory, which qualified them for the very first AFC Asian Cup (2011) after 27 years.

2. Most appearances for Team India

Chhetri also holds the record with the most appearances for an Indian footballer, with 150 caps. Bhutia has 88 caps, making him the 2nd most experienced Indian footballer in history. Chhetri debuted for the national Indian football team on June 12, 2005. The would-be legend demonstrated his abilities in his debut outing, scoring against Pakistan.

1. 3rd highest International goals 

Chhetri has served as the poster boy of Indian football for about a decade and a half, and his 94 international goals rank him third among active international goal scorers behind Cristiano Ronaldo as well as Lionel Messi. One of Chhetri's most notable goals came during the 2011 SAFF Championship in New Delhi. Chhetri broke Indian icon IM Vijayan's milestone of six goals during a single tournament during the ninth edition, scoring an unprecedented seven goals in India's title win.

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