In an astonishing throughput, Sunil Chhetri the Indian football talisman has surpassed Argentina and Barcelona’s superstar Lionel Messi to become the second-highest active international goal-scorer with 74 goals.
Messi is considered to be the GOAT of football by his fans. But surprisingly, Sunit Chhetri has now outshined Lio in the tally of international goals.
The 36-year-old Chhetri achieved the feat with his brace against Bangladesh in the joint preliminary qualifying round match for 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup on Monday night.
Sunil helped India register their first win in six years in World Cup qualifiers against any other Asian rival, now stands only behind Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo (103) in the active international goal-scorers list.
Chhetri leads Barcelona star Messi by two goals and sits a place above Ali Mabkhout of the UAE, who is third on the list with 73 goals to his name.
🤩 He’s now got more than Messi! Sunil Chhetri’s double earns the Blue Tigers a 2-0 win in #WCQ and moves him on to 74 international goals – above Lionel Messi and one off entering world football’s all-time top 10 🧗♂️@chetrisunil11 | @IndianFootball pic.twitter.com/sCCd6BgS9H
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) June 7, 2021
Lionel Messi scored his 72nd international goal in a World Cup qualifier against Chile last Thursday, while Mabkhout added to his tally against Malaysia, also last week.
The India captain Chhetri is also just a goal away from entering world football’s all-time top-10.
Delighted with the team’s victory and Chhetri’s record, All India Football Federation (AIFF) president praised the skipper with the following words;
“Our @IndianFootball skipper Sunil Chhetri adds another feather to his illustrious cap as he overtook Lionel Messi to become the second-highest active international goalscorer with 74 goals.
“A big congratulations to Captain Fantastic & wishing him many more accolades in the future,” Patel tweeted.
The AIFF boss also praised the team on the convincing win that was built on Chhetri”s brilliance.
“Congratulations #BlueTigers on an awesome win over Bangladesh today & fabulous performance by skipper @chetrisunil11 who lead from the front & paved the path to victory.
“Your hard work & determination was visible on the field. Wishing you all the very best in the upcoming game!”
Chhetri’s double meant India registered their first win in what was turning out to be a forgettable World Cup qualifying campaign. It was also India’s first victory in World Cup qualifiers away from home in 20 years.
🗣️ @chetrisunil11: “To win 3⃣ points, win a full game is sweet! I’m really happy that we also kept a clean sheet” 👊
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) June 7, 2021
With the win, India rose to the third spot in Group E with six points from seven games.
India will next face Afghanistan in the qualifiers on June 15.
The side is already out of contention to qualify for World Cup 2022, but the Blue Tigers can still can make it to the Asian Cup in China.