Sunil Chhetri is an Indian professional footballer who plays as a striker or winger and captains both the Indian Super League side Bengaluru FC and the Indian national football team. Popularly known as Captain Fantastic, having scored the second highest number of goals in international matches among active male players after Cristiano Ronaldo and 6th on the all time list, he is both the most-capped player and all-time top goalscorer for the Indian national team, with 72 goals in 115 appearances. Sunil Chhetri was named an ‘Asian Icon’ by AFC on his 34th birthday.
Chhetri began his professional career at Mohun Bagan in 2002. He then moved to JCT where he scored 21 goals in 48 games. He signed for the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer in 2010, becoming the third player from the subcontinent of note to go abroad. However, that stint in the United States did not last long and soon he was back in India’s I-League where he played for Chirag United and Mohun Bagan before going back abroad. This time he was signed by Sporting Clube de Portugal of the Primeira Liga where he played for the club’s reserve side.
He helped India win the 2007 Nehru Cup, 2009 Nehru Cup, the 2012 Nehru Cup as well as the 2011 SAFF Championship. He was also one of India’s best players during the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup in which India won the tournament and thus qualified for their first AFC Asian Cup in 27 years. He then led India in scoring during their short-lived campaign at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup with two goals. Chhetri has also been named AIFF Player of the Year a record six times in 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2018–19.
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