The Success story of Sunil Chhetri: Inspiration for footballers

The Success story of Sunil Chhetri: Inspiration for footballers

Sunil Chhetri is a great Indian football player popularly known as “Captain Fantastic” his fans and loved ones. The player is one of the top football players in India. He is counted as one of the best sportspeople in the country as well as the world.

He is on the top list in the Indian international ranking scoring approximately more than 80 goals. And he is the captain of the Indian national football team and also of the Super League club Bengaluru.

He is well known for scoring goals for his team and for this reason he is counted among the top footballers of the world along will Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. He is ranked fifth in the list of best footballers in the world which is a proud thing for the Indian nation.

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About His Early Life:

The great Indian football player, Sunil Chhetri is born and brought up in the Secunderabad district of Andhra Pradesh. He was born on the 3rd of August in the year 1984 and is currently 37 years of age. If we say so, football is something that runs in his blood.

Being an army kid, he had the opportunity to live in various cities of India like Kolkata, Gangtok, Darjeeling, and New Delhi. His father, KB Chhetri was in the Indian army and he used to play football in his young days.

His father was the officer of the electronic and mechanical engineer in the Indian Army, and his mother Mrs. Sushila Chhetri also used to play football for the Nepal national football team.

Though their parents migrated to India a long time back, they were originally from Nepal and have their roots from Nepal. His younger brother Mr. Ajay Chhetri is also a footballer and he plays for Bengaluru Football Club in the Indian Super League as a midfielder.

He also has a sister named is Bandana Chhetri who is an entrepreneur in the sports industry. So, now we know the whole Chhetri family loves football and they are the whole sports family.

He is married to Sonam Bhattacharjee, the daughter of a former Indian football player, Subrata Bhattacharjee.

They were in a long-term relationship and then decided to get married. He has done half of his schooling from Gangtok, Sikkim, and the other half from Army school, New Delhi. He completed his higher schooling in Kolkata.

Immediately after fining his schooling, he had to quit his further studies as he got the opportunity of representing the nation in the Asian School Championship in 2001 in Malaysia.

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Introduction to Football

The skipper started playing football at a very young age he used to love playing sports from that age itself. He started playing football as a profession in the year 2002 and has now become the top goal scorer in the Indian national football team.
Being such a great football player, Sunil Chhetri truly admires the world’s number one football player Lionel Messi. Messi is an inspiration for him according to various sources, reports, and interviews.

Current life

Sunil Chhetri is currently the Captain of the Indian national football team as well as the Bengaluru football club. And is said to be the most capped and most decorated football player of India. He has represented the nation so many times in international platforms and matches and has made the nation proud.

For this reason, the fan base of Mr. Chhetri is really huge, and is one of the most successful sportspeople in the world. Starting his journey as a middle-class player, now he is the top charged player in India and also in the world.

Apart from football, he loves to play cricket and badminton. All in all, he is truly a sports person and loves to pass his most of the time playing some of the other sports.

It is rightly said by the experts that he is leading the Indian national football team for more than ten years now without much support and assistance and has given the team so much.

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About his career at the start:

Started his career in 2002 when he completed 17 years of age. He did not take any initial pieces of training to step into the career as he came from such a background that football was in his blood.

He started playing football and other sports at a very young age and was sure from the very beginning that he wanted to play football as his full-time profession. Having said that, a lot of motivation and support came from his parents who were also kind of sportsperson.

His mother even played football for the Nepal football team along with her two twin sisters. So, Chhetri did not face many difficulties in starting his career as a footballer. Sunil Chhetri’s mother helped a lot in shaping his career as a sportsperson.

He used to compete with his mother during his practice days. He not only played football but also various other sports like chess, volleyball, carom, wrestling, and whatnot.
India is not into footballs as it is in cricket, but Sunil Chhetri has kept this sport alive, of course along with other players as well. He is the third of the Indian subcontinent to travel abroad to play football as a sport, professionally.

Talking about his greatness and talent, he is the only Indian player of India to travel and football on three different continents that are, Asia, Europe for the sporting club de Portugal, and North America for the Kansas City Wizards club.

He started his football career professionally in the year 2002 from the Mohun Bagan. There he started his own football club and played there for at least three consecutive years. He then decided to move to Jagatjit Cotton & Textile Football Club Hoshiarpur district of Punjab.

He played various memorable matches there, and he played around 48 matches in total and scored 21 goals during the journey. This was the highest score achieved by him at that time during his career.

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Aout his peak career:

Talking about his international matches as a football player, he represented India for the first time under-20 team in 2004 with Pakistan in under-23 team in Pakistan. His career took a gear in the year 2006 when the Indian team defeated Cambodia with 6-0 goals in which Chhetri along scored two goals. From then he did not look back and his career began to gear up. Eventually, he became one of the best footballers in the world.

He represented India numerous times at the international level. From the year 2007, his game as a national player began when he started representing India at the national and international levels. And represented India at the Nehru cup in the year 2007 for the very first time and this continued for years. He represented India in the same Nehru cup again in the years 2009 and 2012.

He not only represented India but also helped India to win the cup in all these three years that is 2007, 2009, and 2012 by scoring goals for the country. Consecutively in the year 2008, India played the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup. In that tournament he was awarded as one of the best players on the Indian football team as he helped and contributed to the team as a result India won the AFC Challenge Cup.

This victory led to the selection of the Indian National football team in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup in 27 years of the process and dedication. In the year 2011 again he contributed to the team by scoring two goals at the 2011 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup.

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This also included The South Asian Football Federation Championship, commonly known as the SAFF Championship held in 2011 which was also won by the Indian football team with the major contribution of Sunil Chhetri. SAFF championship was earlier known as South Asian Association of Regional cooptation Gold Cup and South Asian Football Federation Gold Cup.

He played for various clubs during his initial career he played Chirag United and also Mohun Bagan. There he got the chance to play for Sporting Club de Portugal of the Premiere Liga, who signed Sunil Chhetri for the club’s reserve side. Finally, in the year 2010, he got the chance to go abroad. He became the third player to go abroad from the Indian subcontinent.

During that time he got the opportunity to sign for the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer. He played there and made his debut for the Wizards in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup qualification game against the Colorado Rapids in which he got a yellow card and sat out of the game.

Although his team had lost the match 1goal against 2 goals. In the same year, that is in the year 2010 Chhetri played for the Wizards against the magnificent, Manchester United as a substitute for Teal Bunbury in the 69th minute as the Wizards won the match 2 goals against 1 goal.

During those years he also represented the Bengaluru Football club and the Mumbai city football club for the Indian Super League.

Another big achievement in his career is that he was declared the Indian national team captain in the year 2012. During the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) challenge cup qualification in Malaysia, he was named and designated as the captain of the national team.

After getting that designation he managed and played so well that he scored 21 goals for his team and won many titles for his team and his side and for this reason he is called popularly as the “captain fantastic”.

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Sunil Chhetri has won many prestigious awards in his career. He has won one of the most renowned, All India Football Federation (AIFF) Player of the Year four times in the years 2007, 2011, 2013, and 2014 for his exemplary form and achievements for his club and country.

In the year 2007, he was the top scorer for India in the Nehru Cup and led the team to victory with 4 goals and that was the major turning point in his football career.
In the year 2011, he scored 11 goals in 20 Club appearances and 13 goals in 17 international matches.

The same year, in 2011 he was also awarded the Arjuna Award for his outstanding achievement in National Sports. During the same year, he scored 11 goals in 20 Club appearances and 13 goals in 17 international matches.

By the year 2013, he reached the mark of Scoring 43 goals for the country. He had won the I–League crown while playing for the Churchill Brothers. On the 19th of July, 2013, he joined the amazing Bengaluru FC. In the year 2014, he had scored 14 goals in I–League season. He went ahead of the most fabulous and talented I M Vijayan who had won the award 3 times in 1992, 1997, and 2000.

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Sunil Chhetri has also been named AIFF Player of the Year five times in 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2017. With 56 goals in 97 appearances and matches, he is also the all-time top goal scorer for the India national team, and also he is the most-capped player.

He was also honored with FPAI Indian Player of the Year in 2009 and 2018. AFC (Asian federation confederation) Challenge Cup Most Valuable Player in 2008, and SAFF (South Asian Football Federation Championship) Championship Player of the Tournament in 2011, Hero of the I-League for the 2016–17 season, and the Hero of the Indian Super League for the 2017–18 season.
Recently in the year 2021, he was awarded the most prestigious, Major Dhyana Chand Khel Ratna Award. He has also received the Arjuna Award from the then president of India Pratibha Patil.

Even after contributing and serving the country and the national football team of India for more than 10 years now, he is still the most precious asset for the team. He is the top scorer in the Indian football team with a total of 53 goals in almost 93 appearances and matches.

Even the coaches of the Indian team and the Indian head Coach Igor Stimac agrees and has praised Chhetri for his outstanding contribution and captaincy especially after the success against the Bangladesh team.

In scoring goals for his entire journey, in the match against Bangladesh, he scored his 74th goal leaving behind Ali Mahbout who has a total goal score of 73. He has also broken the record of iconic Mr. IM Vijayan who had the record of most goals in the world cup qualifying match.


Concluding the article, I am extremely grateful for writing on such legendry players and person who has contributed their blood and sweat to this nation. Sunil Chhetri began his career at a very young age is still serving the nation and his team.

He is the backbone of the Indian national football team with a lot of experience, knowledge, and patience just like how a captain should be. He has represented and won many titles at the national and international level for himself, his team and for the entire nation as well.

If India stands anywhere in the world for sports like football it is all because of the players like Sunil Chhetri. According to Forbes India, Chhetri had an annual earning of Rs 6.1 crore in 2019, a total of all money earned through games along with advertisements and sponsorships. He is one of the highest-paid players in India.
To sum up, Sunil Chhetri is a striker who has made history as the first Indian player to record 50 international goals while representing his country. On June 12, 2005, he made his debut appearance for the national team, scoring his first goal against Pakistan.

He scored his 50th goal against Guam during the 2018 World Cup Qualifying match. Sunil Chhetri has 56 goals as of 11 October 2017, making him the team’s leading goal scorer. He made his debut for the Indian U-20 squad on March 30, 2004. Chhetri then scored two goals against Bhutan’s U-23 squad on April 3, 2004.

His squad came out on top 4-1. Sunil Chhetri is the current captain of the Indian National Football Team. He is India’s most admired and well-received player. He is also the team’s all-time leading goal scorer. Chhetri is a striker for the Indian National Team and Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League, where he wears the number 11 shirt (ISL).

His international career began in 2007, and this 5 ft 7-inch soccer flame has been making the country proud ever since. With 74 goals for India, Sunil Chhetri is the second-highest active international goal scorer. This is an incredible achievement for a player from a country that isn’t in Europe or South America, but his goal-scoring powers for the Indian national team are unrivaled.

Sunil Chhetri has been leading the Indian national football team without any help for almost ten years. Chhetri has defended his team several times, and no one knows where the squad would be on the football map if he weren’t there. The Sunil Chhetri is one of India’s most well-known footballers.

We may even claim that the Telangana striker is the greatest home-grown talent India has to offer in the popular sport. As Chhetri prepares for his 20th season in the NFL (National Football League), he can look back on a spectacular career that would make any professional football player envious.

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