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Sunil Chhetri to retire from International Football

Utkarsh Classes Last Updated 18-05-2024
Sunil Chhetri to retire from International Football Person in News 6 min read

One of India’s best-known sporting icons, Sunil Chhetri, has announced that he will retire from international football after India’s match against Kuwait at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on 6 June 2024.

This ends the illustrious career of Secunderabad-born Sunil Chhetri, who is currently the captain of the Blue Tigers (the Indian men’s football team nickname). He wears Jersey No. 9 of the Indian men’s football team.

Sunil Chhetri's Contribution and Records  

Sunil Chhetri is considered to be the face of Indian football. During his illustrious career, he has created many records.

He made his professional debut with Mohun Bagan club in 2002. He also played for the USA’s Major League Soccer team, Kansas City Wizards, in 2010 and for the reserve team of Sporting CP in the Portuguese football league in 2012.

Sunil Chhetri played his first international match for India in 2005 and scored his first goal for the senior India national football team against Pakistan.

He was made captain of the Blue Tigers in 2012 and will retire as the captain of the Indian team in his final match against Kuwait.

3rd highest international goal scorer amongst active players  

Amongst the active players, Sunil Chhetri is the third-highest goal scorer in international matches. 

  • Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo is the leading goal scorer in the world with 128 goals. Argentina’s Lionel Messi is second on the list with 106 international goals. 
  • Sunil Chhetri, with 94 goals in 150 international matches, is third on the list. 
  • At the club level, Sunil Chhetri has scored 158 goals in 365 matches

8th Player to play 150 International Matches 

Sunil Chhetri became the eighth player in the world to play 150 international matches. His 150th international match was against Afghanistan, played at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati, Assam, on 26 March 2024. Unfortunately, India lost the match against Afghanistan 2-1, with Sunil Chhetri being the solitary goal scorer for India.

The other players who have played more than 150 international matches are as follows:

  • 205 international games for Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal,
  • Badr-Al-Mutawa of Kuwait (196 matches), 
  • Soh Chin Ann of Malaysia(195), 
  • Ahmed Hassan of Egypt (184), 
  • Ahmed Mubarak of Oman(183), 
  • Hasan Al Haydos of Qatar (183), 
  • Lionel Messi of Argentina (180).

International Trophy won for India 

Sunil Chhetri has played for the Indian men’s football team that has won the Nehru Cup (2007, 2009, 2012) and the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship (2011, 2015, 2021). 

Sunil Chhetri was crucial in India’s 2008 AFC Challenge Cup win, which helped them qualify for the first AFC Asian Cup (2011) after 27 years.

Honour for Sunil Chhetri 

  • Sunil Chhetri has been named the All India Football Federation(AIFF) Male Player of the Year seven times.
  • He was honoured with India’s second-highest sports award, the Arjuna Award, in 2013
  • He was honoured with India’s highest sports award, the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award in 2021.
  • He was awarded India’s third-highest civilian award, Padam Shri, in 2019.
  • In 2022, football’s world governing body, FIFA, honoured Sunil Chhetri with a documentary titled “ Captain Fantastic.”

India’s Match Against Kuwait 

India’s match against Kuwait is crucial for India’s quest to qualify for the third round of the FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup 2027 Preliminary Joint Qualifiers. 

In the Round 2, India has been placed along with Qatar, Kuwait and Afghanistan. India has four points from four matches. Qatar leads the points table with nine points from three matches, leads the group.  India has two more games against Asian champions Qatar and Kuwait.

FAQ

Answer: Football. He is the captain of the Indian men’s football team.

Answer: Blue Tigers

Answer: Jersey number 9

Answer: Against Pakistan in 2005.

Answer: Against Kuwait to be played at the at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on 6 June 2024.

Answer: 2012.
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