Bhubaneswar: Ask anybody the birthday of Virat Kohli, Mahendra Singh Dhoni or for that matter even Sachin Tendulkar. Chances are that 99% will come up with the correct answer. But will they be able to come up with the right information if asked about the birth date of the captain of the Indian football team, Sunil Chhetri. Probably very few can.
Chhetri will step into his 34th birthday, Friday and it is a day that should be celebrated in the same way that birthdays of celebrities and cricketers are celebrated. The man in his lifetime has become a legend itself. He has played over 100 matches for the country and in the all-time international scorers list, he is tied in second place with Lionel Messi and only behind Cristiano Ronaldo. Both Messi and Chhetri have scored 64 goals each, but Chhetri is the first one to say that comparisons shouldn’t be made.
“They (Messi and Ronaldo) are my idols. They are class apart. I cannot be compared to them. I have done nothing of note compared to the standards they have set,” Chhetri has repeatedly said.
When he decided to pursue a career in football, more so as a striker, many had joked about his height. They had said ‘a 5’7” man cannot ever be successful as a striker’. Stats do tell a different story though.
As far as Indian football is concerned, Chettri is already a legend. He has replaced another of his idol, Bhaichung Bhutia as the face of Indian football. His contributions will always be written in gold in the annals of Indian football history. A champion in the true sense of the word.
Happy birthday Sunil Chhetri. May you continue to make the country proud.
Clubs played for: East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, JCT, Dempo, Kansas City Wizards (USA), Chirag United, Sporting CPB (Portugal), Churchill Brothers, Mumbai City and Bengaluru FC