Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri on June 10 made India proud after he equalled Argentine forward Lionel Messi’s international goal record during the Intercontinental Cup summit clash against Kenya in a jam-packed Mumbai Football Arena.
Skipper Chhetri continued his superb form as he scored twice to guide his team to a 2-0 victory over Kenya on Sunday night.
Chhetri, who scored in the 8th and 29th minutes to hand India a comprehensive victory, equalled Argentina’s Lionel Messi’s tally of 64 international goals. Chettri is now the joint-second active international goalscorer, only behind Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo (81 goals).
PROUD OF YOU #SUNIL!!
Highest active international goalscorers’ list:
1. Ronaldo __ – 81
2. Chhetri__ – 64
2. Messi__ – 64
4. Villa__ – 59
5. Dempsey__ – 57#SunilChhetri goes 2nd on this prestigious list.#IndianFootball #INDvKEN pic.twitter.com/yM5zWFvwXM
— Doordarshan National (@DDNational) June 10, 2018
In terms of the number of goals per match, 33-year-old Chhetri has a better record than Messi. Chhetri 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).
Meanwhile, Chhetri ended Intercontinental Cup as the leading goal-scorer with 8 goals under his belt.
Following Chhetri’s feat, many prominent names like Sachin Tendulkar, Yusuf Pathan and VVS Laxman among others took to their official Twitter handle to congratulate the footballer. They wrote:
Splendid performance from the #MenInBlue. Keep it up, @chetrisunil11 and the @IndianFootball team. You guys totally deserved this victory. Our support will always continue to be with you. #INDvKEN pic.twitter.com/JxKYVlF8Ej
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) June 10, 2018
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) June 10, 2018
— Yusuf Pathan (@iamyusufpathan) June 10, 2018
— Panchdeo Pandey (@ruppanbabu) June 4, 2018
During the post-match conference, when a reporter asked Chhetri about his reaction on equalling Messi’s record, he said: “Those are just stats, there is definitely no comparison between me and Messi. I am a huge fan of him.”
The tournament was for the first time that spectators turned in large number to watch the Indian football team playing an international match.
This turn-around was because of Chhetri’s emotional appeal he made via a video he posted on social media. In his message, Chhetri urged the countrymen to turn in large numbers to support the Indian football team.