Sunil Chhetri Biography
When we talk about Indian football, the name of Sunil Chhetri immediately cops up in the mind of football fans of the country. He is the most admired footballer of India. At present, Chhetri has been leading the Blue Tigers from the front. Known as ‘Bhai’ by his teammates, the charismatic Indian striker Chhetri tied the knot with Sonam Bhattacharya, the daughter of former Indian footballer Subrata Bhattacharya, in 2017.
Sunil Chhetri was born on August 3, 1984 at Secunderabad in Telangana (that time part of undivided Andhra Pradesh). He was born to KB Chhetri and Sushila Chhetri. After completing his schooling from Bahai School, Gangtok (Sikkim), he went to Asutosh College, Kolkata.
The dynamic India striker started his professional career at the well-known club of Kolkata – Mohun Bagan – in 2002. Like many other footballers, he also changed several clubs. However, as soon as he got the chance to wear the national jersey, he shone with his extraordinary display in the international football. Chhetri played his first international match against arch-rival Pakistan on June 12, 2005. After that, he never disappointed his fans.
Message to fans
It’s a well-known fact that cricket has overshadowed other sports in the country. Chhetri came into the limelight when he released a video and appealed to Indians to watch football matches. He further said in the message: “Abuse us, criticise us, but please come to the stadium and watch the match of Indian football team”. Amazingly, people respected and responded to his appeal by filling up the stadia. This made iconic the footballer a hero and brought him a lot of media coverage after that.
Sunil Chhetri always tries to give more than 100 percent on the ground. To some extent, this diminutive striker has been able to change the complexion of Indian football. Chhetri played a vital role in India’s victory in the 2007, 2009 and 2012 Nehru Cup tournaments. His breath-taking performance helped India emerge victorious in the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup. Thus, India got the ticket to play in the Asian Cup after more than two decades.
He plays for the Bengaluru FC in Indian Super League (ISL). He believes that due to ISL, players get a chance to play 50 or more games in a year, which is sufficient for grooming new talent. In fact, present coach Igor Stimac echoed the same thought that a player should play around 50 matches in a year, which is common among the foreign footballers.
In the international football arena, Sunil Chhetri recently surpassed the great Argentine footballer Lionel Messi. He is now the second highest active goal scorer in international football, just behind Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
• Sunil Chhetri was declared Player of the Year in 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2017.
• Chhetri got the Arjuna Award for Football in 2011.
• In 2019, he received the Padma Bhushan.