Top 10 achievements of Sunil Chhetri for Indian football team

The torch bearer of Indian football has had a 10/10 career in hindsight and here we take a look at 10 such achievements of the No. 11 shirt bearer. 

The 39 year young star striker, who up until very recently was leading the line for India announced his decision to hang up his boots in mid May this year. With that he leaves behind a legacy of consistency, commitment and the ability to be what he has become against all odds but most importantly leaves a void that would be very difficult to fill.

Sunil Chhetri is for a very good reason been compared with the other two GOATs of till now active international footballers. It would take something special for someone in the current setup to replicate what he has done and his records seem to be safe for at least sometime.

As Indian football fans say their final goodbyes to arguably the best footballer of the country from an international football perspective. 

Here is a look at the top 10 achievements of Sunil Chhetri for the Indian football team:

In the company of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

While some might argue the level at which Chettri has played throughout his career and the opponents he has faced, nobody can dispute the fact that in terms of sheer numbers. The knack of consistently delivering week in week out for about two decades and in fact being better as he has aged. Just like the other two in comparison, his name is now interchangeable as an adjective for a skilled footballer in India which can be the biggest compliment one can get.   

Trophies with the Blue Tigers

Sunil Chhetri has amassed hoards of accolades throughout his illustrious career but has been especially found to have donned the colors of blue, both India and Bengaluru FC thus being fondly known as the Blue Tiger. Especially on an international level, he has won one AFC Challenge Cup, four SAFF Championships, three Nehru Cups, two Intercontinental cups and one Tri-Series Tournament.

SAFF Championships awards

Sunil Chhetri and SAFF Championships is a love story that is better than Twilight and it has been the case for so many years, winning plenty of individual accolades in the process. He has bagged the SAFF Championships Player of the Tournament award on four occasions and finished as the top scorer on three instances. 

First Indian to become top 10 international goal scorers

Sunil Chettri is probably the only south Asian footballer in recent years to have been acknowledged by FIFA for his achievements and for someone who has had very limited help from other avenues. This sort of achievement is a testament to not only his talent, but also his application and ability to adapt, deliver the goods and cement his legacy. Despite of all the odds stacked against him right from the get go a goal on his international debut was only a sign of things to come. 

AIFF Player of the Year awards

Chhetri receives AIFF Player of the Year award
Credit - AIFF

Sunil Chhetri rightfully holds the record for winning the AIFF Player of the Year most number of times which is a fair representation of his performances over the years. Some might even argue that he could have got even more. Over the years, he has been awarded the POTY trophy on seven different occasions. His most recently got his hands on the trophy in 2021–22. 

First Indian to play in three different continents

Sunil Chettri despite spending most of his career within his homeland has held the Indian flag high. He has been one of the few Indian players to venture abroad and represent global powerhouses like Sporting CP and Sporting KC along with being linked with a move to QPR which unfortunately didn't materialize. 

Khel Ratna awardee

Sunil Chhetri’s for all the trophies he has in his cupboard will hold this one a little bit extra special as he received the highest recognition when he was awarded the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award in 2021. By receiving the highest sporting honor in India, Chhetri became the first football player to win it officially cementing his legacy not that it needed any awards to validate it anyways but it is good that their efforts are being recognized.

Appearances for the Indian national team

Sunil Chhetri has been a mainstay in the National Setup for as long as some of the readers might have been alive. He has featured in 150 matches for the Blue Tigers over the years since his debut in 2005.

Goals for the Indian national team

Sunil Chhetri’s goal scoring exploits for the Indian national team are so outrageous we don't even realise how crazy they are to say the least. He has scored 94 goals in 150 matches for the Blue Tigers, by far the highest ever for an Indian footballer till now.

The Legendary Status

The greatest success story for Sunil Chettri has not been any awards, goal scoring feats or the glitz and glamour associated with where he is, but that of an everlasting legacy where he has inspired countless number of people to take up football or at the very least take notice and support it. On the pitch, he has been one of the few bright sparks and has always been there for his team but most importantly has been there for the 12th man.

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