India defeated Kuwait in a nail-biting penalty shootout to win the SAFF Championship in what turned out to be a very heated final at Bengaluru’s Sree Kanteerava Stadium. India is currently ranked 100th in the most recent FIFA rankings. India won the SAFF Championship for the ninth time with the victory over Kuwait. Sunil Chhetri, the Indian team’s captain and striker, led his country to yet another historic victory. Read on to know the five similarities between Sunil Chhetri and Ronaldo & Messi.
Chhetri’s outstanding performance throughout the competition earned him the Golden Boot and Golden Ball Awards in addition to the coveted SAFF Championship crown. Not only that, but the 38-year-old Indian football player also surpassed Ali Ashfaq’s 23-goal record in the SAFF Championship to set a new mark for the greatest goal-scorer in the international competition with a total of 25 goals.
While the Blue Tigers prevailed in the final between India and Kuwait, the competition demonstrated how Indian goal machine Chhetri has improved to compete with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Chhetri is now ranked fourth among all-time leading international goal scorers in football history with 92 goals from 142 games.
Sunil Chhetri, Ronaldo & Messi similarities:
5. Top goal scorer in the country
Sunil Chhetri scored five goals in the 2023 SAFF Championship to bring his overall number of goals for his country to 92 (in 142 appearances). Only Lionel Messi (103 goals) and Cristiano Ronaldo (123) have more goals than the Indian captain currently playing.
4. Captaining both club & country
Chhetri is the captain of Bengaluru FC, an ISL team, and his nation, just like Ronaldo and Messi are. However, Messi did not wear the captain’s armband when he transferred from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), when he took over as club captain after Andrés Iniesta left.
3. Face of top sports brands
Chhetri is the face of the major global sports company Puma, whereas Messi and Ronaldo have lifetime contracts with Adidas and Nike, respectively, and leading sports brands. The Times of India reports that the Indian forward has agreed to a three-year contract with Puma. Numerous elite footballers, like Neymar, Antoine Griezmann, Jan Oblak, and others, are on the brand’s roster. Virat Kohli, a former captain of the Indian cricket team, is another well-known Indian name connected to the company.
The Indian captain, who is 38, is the definition of dedication to one’s craft or physical health. The Times of India claims that Chhetri’s exercise programme consists of high-intensity exercises that help him become a better player overall, such as sledge pushes and ladder drills. The 38-year-old football player, according to the article, practises six days a week and takes a day off for rest. Other elite footballers, including Messi, Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski, Karim Benzema, and others, adhere to a stringent diet and exercise regimen.
As one of the greatest forwards in Indian football history, FIFA released a documentary about Chhetri’s journey in September 2022. The film, Captain Fantastic, pays homage to the Indian captain, a role model for many aspiring young football players. When Captain Fantastic was released, FIFA said on social media, “You know all about Ronaldo and Messi, now get the definitive story of the third highest-scoring active men’s international.”
So, this was all about Sunil Chhetri’s similarities with Ronaldo & Messi. Also read, Did U Know? Billionaire Mukesh Ambani owns 5 cricket teams.