Mumbai: Talismanic Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri Sunday became the joint second highest international goal scorer among active players along with Argentine superstar Lionel Messi with his 64th strike for the country against Kenya in the Intercontinental Cup summit clash here at the Mumbai Football Arena.
Chhetri, who came into the match with 62 goals, gave India the lead in the eighth minute before scoring the second goal in the 29th minute to put him on par with Messi.
The 33-year-old Chhetri, who was playing in his 102nd international match and Messi are behind leader and Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo who has 81 goals from 150 matches.
Chhetri and Messi are currently in joint 21st in the all-time list of goal scorers. The Indian is just one goal below former Chelsea and Ivory Coast stalwart Didier Drogba (65 goals from 104 matches).
In terms of number of goals per match, Chhetri is better than Meesi, arguably the best player in the world currently. Chhetri has scored 0.62 goals per match as against 0.52 of Messi (64 goals from 124 matches). The Indian has also a better goal average than Ronaldo (0.54 per match).
The Manipuri, who became only the second Indian to feature in 100 international matches after former skipper Bhaichung Bhutia, had earlier equalled Zlatan Ibrahamovic of Sweden and World Cup winner Brazilian Ronaldo in the match against New Zealand which India lost 1-2.
Asked about his feat after the end of the match, Chhetri said: “It’s unfair to compare myself with Messi and Cristiano. I am a big fan of both. They are much bigger stars. I just want to score as many goals as possible for my country.”