AFC Asian Cup 2019: Sunil Chhetri Overtakes Lionel Messi in International Goals

3 min read
Image Source: NDTV

On Sunday, Indian Football team skipper Sunil Chhetri went past the Argentina superstar Lionel Messi in the list of goals scored by an active footballer on the international arena.  With this, he also led his country to its first win in the AFC Asian Cup since 1964.

 

Chhetri’s tally of 67 is two more than Lionel Messi, who sits at 65. Meanwhile, Chhetri’s two-goal heroics also mean that he is the second-highest active international goal scorer at the moment.

The Indian skipper scored his 66th international goal from the penalty spot to give India the lead. Chhetri popped up again in the 46th minute to score his 67th international goal and give India the lead.  Anirudh Thapa and Jeje Lalpekhlua further added gloss to the scoreline, as India ended up beating Thailand by 4-1.

Sunil Chhetri: As modest as he could be

 

“Records don’t matter, it doesn’t matter who scores the goals. Whoever scores the jubilation was the same. I’m glad we got all three points,” Chhetri said after the sensational 4-1 result against Thailand, the team that featured three J-League players in its ranks.

The 34-year-old Chhetri scored a world-class goal – his second of the game, but he preferred to talk everything else but his strike, which became a talking point for Indian football fans.

“I can think about my goals some ten years later. At the moment, we need to focus. The goals need to come and it just doesn’t matter who scores. You can see the jubilation and happiness whenever someone scores. I am so happy for the boys. Every one of them ran and defended for their lives,” he stated.

Just a place behind Football star Cristiano Ronaldo

 

With 85 strikes from 154 games, only Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo remains ahead of the Indian at the moment. But Chhetri would rather talk about the difficult upcoming engagements. “It’s a tough pool when we started thinking; we felt that all the others were more experienced and better than us. But the manner the boys fought, it shows a lot of character. I have said this before, we are a very difficult team to play against,” he maintained.

“We may not be the most technical team but we will fight till the end, and that’s what the boys showed.”

 

Looking at the statistics and the goal-scoring comparisons between him and them (Messi and Ronaldo), Chhetri had said last year, “It’s not even fair. The two players who are above me are completely world stars. I am a big fan of Messi and Ronaldo. There is a massive difference between them and us. There is no comparison at all.”

On Sunday, after his team’s convincing victory, Chhetri was all praise for the passing abilities of Thailand. “They were very good with the ball. We saw that in the first half. We knew that if we allowed them space they would just be passing around the whole park and we may not even touch the ball. So we stayed close. “The goals came in the right times and it helped a lot.”

On the many fans that turned up to back the Indian team, he said, “The onus was on them… we expect so much from them, they have made us so used to all the support. I hope in the coming matches also we can give them things to cheer.”

And what Fantastic Post-match celebrations!

 

 

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Lover of cultures, varied colors, and underdogs, Bhawna is a by-heart and professional playwright. Hailing from a journalism & communication background, she incorporates a careful study at both flips of the coin which is essentially required to be analytical in thoughts and words. Actively abreast of the current affairs around the globe, she likes knowing and bringing into light the unexplored. Problem solving via the power of content is what inspires her and hence KreedOn, a platform created for the betterment of sports ecosystem in India, is now her happy workplace!

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