Sunil Chhetri is the captain of the Indian football team. His name has become more or less identical with Indian football, and rightly so. Chettri was born on 3rd August 1984 in the present state of Telangana. He debuted in the international arena in 2007 when he played against Pakistan.
Today, he is compared to the likes of football legends Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. But his journey wasn’t the same when it began. Chhetri had a rough start. ‘After one week, I was told by the head coach ‘you are not good enough, get lost to the B team. I gave it a shot for nine months, played five games, scoring zero goal. There was a 4 or 5 million release clause. I was to be there for three years but I told the coach I want to go back to India and nobody is going to pay this amount, just release me. They were very nice,’ recalls the footballer.
Happy Birthday Sunil Chhetri
As he turns 37 today, he says, ‘I’m not big on birthday celebrations, and this one won’t be any different. I am with my club Bengaluru FC at our pre-season camp in Bellary. I’ll begin the day doing what I love the most — being on a football pitch. We’re a tightly knit unit, so it’s safe to say I’ll be around ‘family’ on my birthday.’
The Arjuna awardee is now officially the second-highest international goal scorer. He is even ahead of the celebrated Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi. This is just another milestone in his glorious career. He has multiple records in his name, such as the highest international goal scorer for India and the most number of hat-tricks in international football by an Indian footballer.
Indian cricketer Virat Kohli wishes him as he tweets, ‘Happy Birthday skip. I hope you have a blessed day like every other day in your life & I always wish you the best. I’m grateful for our friendship that’s been formed very organically and contrary to belief, we’ve majorly connected on Delhi street food memories. @chetrisunil11‘