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10 Unknown Facts About Sunil Chhetri


Football  •  23 Jun, 2023  •  2,294 Views  •  ⭐ 5.0

Written by Anand Swami


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Sunil Chhetri, the icon of Indian football, has made his mark not only on the home turf but also on the international stage. His remarkable journey from a football enthusiast to the captain of the Indian National Football team, and his climb to the top of the scoring charts is an incredible saga of passion, resilience, and talent.

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Today, we delve deeper into the life of this illustrious sportsman, exploring aspects that often remain hidden behind his on-field exploits. Here, we present ten interesting facts about Sunil Chhetri that give a glimpse into his life off the pitch, his journey to stardom, and how he remains a towering inspiration to countless aspiring footballers.

Birth and Upbringing

Image Credits: Stars Unfolded

Sunil Chhetri was born on August 3, 1984, in Secunderabad. The fact that both his parents were sportspersons played a significant role in Sunil's early exposure to sports. His mother, Sushila Chhetri, represented the Nepal Women's National Team, while his father served in the Indian Army and played for the Army's football team.

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First Sporting Love - Cricket

Image Credits: The Bridge

Although Sunil Chhetri has become a synonym for football in India, his first love was actually cricket. However, the family’s passion for football rubbed off on young Sunil, leading him to follow a different path.

Early Club Career

Image Credits: Rediff.com

Sunil Chhetri began his professional career with Mohun Bagan, one of India's oldest and most prestigious football clubs, in 2002. His performances for the club established him as a promising young talent in Indian football.

International Scoring Records

Image Credits: India.com

Chhetri is the second-highest active international goal scorer, trailing behind only the legendary Cristiano Ronaldo. His scoring exploits have garnered international attention and acclaim.

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Overseas Journey

Image Credits: The Bridge

Chhetri's talent transcended borders when he signed a deal with the Major League Soccer team, Kansas City Wizards, in 2010. This made him the third player from the Indian subcontinent to play overseas. However, he returned to India due to lack of playing time.

Captain Courageous

Image Credits: Sports Tiger

Known for his leadership skills, Chhetri has been captaining the Indian National Team since 2011. His captaincy has seen India win several important matches, enhancing the team's stature in Asian football.

Awards and Honours

Image Credits: Times of India

Sunil Chhetri's contributions to Indian football have been recognised with multiple awards. He has been named AIFF Player of the Year several times, and in 2019, he was conferred the Padma Shri, India's fourth-highest civilian award.

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A Heart for Social Causes

Image Credits: The Hindu

Off the field, Chhetri is known for his philanthropic activities. He has been involved in numerous social initiatives, and his passionate appeal for mental health awareness and the upliftment of underprivileged children has won him admiration from all quarters.

A Champion of Vegetarianism

Image Credits: Sportstar

Despite being an athlete, Chhetri decided to become a vegetarian in 2016. His dietary switch has helped him maintain his fitness and form, and he often advocates the benefits of a plant-based diet to his fans and followers.

Stirring the Nation

Image Credits: Sports Adda

Chhetri's heartfelt plea to Indian football fans in 2018 to attend matches and support the national team is etched in Indian football history. His appeal boosted attendance at domestic matches and stirred a renewed passion for the sport in India.

Conclusion

Sunil Chhetri's journey is a testament to his unflinching dedication, incredible talent, and an unwavering will to succeed. As he continues to inspire a nation with his exploits on the pitch, these lesser-known facts only add to the aura of Sunil Chhetri – a footballer, a leader, a philanthropist, and above all, a true sportsman at heart.

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