It’s a double treat for India! On Monday, January 7, India won its first ever test series on Australia and on Sunday, January 6, Indian footballer Sunil Chhetri went past the Argentina football star, becomes second highest goal scorer in the list of goals scored by an active footballer on an international arena.
Sunil Chhetri’s Herculean performance led team India win AFC Asian Cup in 55 years- they had notched up two in a four-team tournament in 1964.
On Sunday, Chhetri scored two goals against Thailand in India’s thumping performance in the AFC Asian Cup campaign opener.
Chhetri who has scored 67 goals in 105 match, overtook Messi who has 65 international goals against his name.
The only other active international ahead of Chhetri is Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo who has 85 goals against his name.
Sunil Chhetri was modesty personified after going past (in terms of goals scored at least) one of modern day’s greatest footballers.
“Records don’t matter, it doesn’t matter who scores the goals. Whoever scores the jubilation is the same. I’m glad we got all three points,” Chhetri said after the sensational 4-1 result against Thailand, the team that featured three J-League players in its ranks.
Chhetri, 34, scored a world-class goal – his second of the game – but he preferred to talk everything else but his strike, which became a talking point for Indian football fans. “I can think about my goals some ten years later,” Chhetri said.
“At the moment, we need to focus. The goals need to come and it just doesn’t matter who scores,” he stated. “You can see the jubilation and happiness whenever someone scores. I am so happy for the boys. Every one of them ran and defended for their lives.”
Playing in his second Asian Cup and 105th match, Chhetri scored in the 27th (penalty) and 46th minutes for his 66th and 67th goals to become the second highest international scorer.
With 85 strikes from 154 games, only Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo remains ahead of the Indian at the moment. But Chhetri would rather talk about the difficult upcoming engagements.
“It’s a tough pool when we started thinking, we felt that all the others were more experienced and better than us. But the manner the boys fought, it shows a lot of character. I have said this before, we are a very difficult team to play against,” he maintained. “We may not be the most technical team but we will fight till the end, and that’s what the boys showed.” (With inputs from PTI)