Indian national football team captain, Sunil Chhetri, is as big as Indian football gets. The most popular name in the country when it comes to football, the striker is a superstar and an icon for the youth. The 36-year-old holds a slew of international and club football records, and here we take a look at the top 10 records he holds.
1) Most Appearances for India
With 115 appearances to his name so far, Chhetri holds the record for most appearances for India. Bhaichung Bhutia comes in second with 107. The striker is set to add to his tally soon as he comes to the twilight of his illustrious career.
2) India’s All-Time International Goalscorer
The Indian skipper is the international team’s all-time highest goalscorer with 72 goals in 115 games. One of his huge world football achievements includes being the second-highest active goal scorer in world football after Cristiano Ronaldo and ahead of Lionel Messi.
3) Most AIFF Player of the Year Awards
Since the All India Football Federation (AIFF) commenced the awarding of the Player of the Year in 1992, no player has ever won it more than the six times that Sunil Chhetri has bagged the award.
4) Most Number of Hat-tricks for India
India’s goal machine has netted the most number of hat-tricks for the country with three to his name. First, against Tajikistan in a 4-1 win in the AFC Challenge Cup final in 2008. The second, against Vietnam in 3-1 win an international friendly match and the last one was against Chinese Taipei in a 5-0 win in the Intercontinental Cup in 2018.
5) Highest Indian Goalscorer in ISL
Netting 47 goals, Chhetri is the highest Indian goalscorer in Indian Super League (ISL) history and also the second-highest goalscorer overall in the league’s history behind Spanish midfielder Ferran Corominas.
6) Highest Indian Goalscorer in the I-League
In India’s former major league, I-League, the 36-year-old bagged 90 goals that see him be the all-time top scorer. He has played for a number of clubs during his career including Mohun Bagan, JCT FC, Dempo SC, United Sports Club, and Bengaluru FC.
7) Most Number of Hat-tricks by an Indian in ISL
Chhetri has currently scored two hat-tricks in the ISL with the first one coming in 2015 against and the second, against FC Pune City in 2017/18.
8) First Indian Player to Score a Hat-trick in the ISL
The striker’s hat-trick against NorthEast United in 2015 saw him became the first-ever Indian to score a hat-trick in the ISL.
9) Only Indian Player to Have Played in Three Different Continents
He is the only Indian player to play in three different continents, which includes his Indian clubs Asia, stints with Sporting Club de Portugal in Europe, and Kansas City Wizards in North America.
10) Most Goals by an Indian in AFC Competitions
The Indian talisman has netted 19 goals so far in AFC Cup and AFC Champions qualifiers, the most by an Indian player. He has made 31 appearances in the AFC Cup matches and two AFC Champions League (ACL) qualifying games for Churchill Brothers and Bengaluru FC.