Sunil Chhetri Biography – The pole star of India’s present football journey, Sunil Chhetri has furnished his career to a splendid level that has helped him gain international attention. A renowned personality in the sporting fraternity, Chhetri has helped Indian football to revive from its darkest nightmare. He is truly the risen star of Indian Football.
Sunil Chhetri is a professional Indian footballer who has represented and led the national side in prominent tournaments. Chhetri plays as the striker and the lead attacker for the Indian team. Along with carrying out his national duty, he has been an amazing performer for the club football teams and is currently a part of the Bengaluru FC team at the Indian Super League.
Sunil Chhetri Biography – Cricketing Career & Personal Life
Sunil Chhetri was born on 3rd August 1984 at Secunderabad district in Andhra Pradesh (present-day Telangana). He has been an active football player since his childhood. His father K.B Chhetri is an officer at the EME Corps office of the Indian Army. His father played for the Indian football team whereas his mother represented Nepal’s national football team.
Belonging to a family who has a background in football, Chhetri started to pursue a professional career in football at a very young age of 9. His ambition and passion for the game helped him to achieve glory in his career. His father encouraged him and he took part in various football tournaments at a very young age.
- Age: 37 Years
- Height: 5’7”
- Weight: 64 kg
- Alma Mater: Ashutosh College, Kolkata
- Mentor: Subroto Bhattacharya
Sunil Chhetri Early Days
Sunil Chhetri’s parents belonged to Nepal but later migrated to India. His childhood went in disparity as he belonged to a lower-middle-class family. Despite the adverse circumstances, Sunil’s parents did not look back when it came to his football coaching. Both of them being professional footballers, they saved money to admit him to an academy and the rest is history.
Sunil Chhetri marked the beginning of his professional career after signing with Bengal’s premier football club Mohun Bagan. He also played for JCT and Kansas City at Major League Soccer. Chhetri made his Indian debut at the U-20 South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Cup in 2004 against Pakistan. He later made his senior team debut against Cambodia at the Nehru Cup in 2007.
Sunil Chhetri Club Career
Sunil Chhetri kicked off his club career after representing a prestigious football club Mohun Bagan in 2002. After a three-year contract with Mohun Bagan, Chhetri moved to the JCT football club. He displayed a remarkable performance against JCT as he scored 21 goals in 48 matches that were the highest goal-scoring by the striker for any football club he represented.
Sunil Chhetri witnessed a breakthrough in his career as he was only the third player from the Indian subcontinent to find a place in Major League Soccer, the first division league of the United States of America. He signed a contract with Kansas City Wizards and went abroad to represent the football club in 2010.
Before leaving for the States, Chhetri played for Chirag United FC and Mohun Bagan football club where he registered fine performances. This led to his signing with Sporting Club de Portugal of the Primeira League, the second division football league of Portugal. Chhetri however did not feature in Portugal and remained a reserved player.
With the introduction of the Indian Super League, all eyes were on Sunil Chhetri and the bids he will receive at the auctions. Chhetri was picked by Mumbai City FC for a whopping Rs. 1.2 Crore, making him the most expensive pick of ISL auctions. He later represented Bengaluru City FC and currently leads the side.
Sunil Chhetri has one of the most decorated records as an Indian club player. In the 226 appearances made by the striker, he has managed to score 111 goals which is the highest number of goals by an Indian striker.
Sunil Chhetri International Career
Sunil Chhetri made his debut for the Indian national football team at the Nehru Cup in 2007. His maiden match came against Cambodia which the Indians swept clinically through a 6-0 score. Chhetri performed marvelously as he scored two goals and came into the limelight. He continued to be a consistent part of the team.
Chhetri continued with his dominant performance at the Nehru Cup where India won the title in 2007. He gained praise along with appreciation and this is where he started to get recognition as an Indian footballer. He made a name for himself as he subsequently helped the Indian side to win the 2009 and 2012 Nehru Cup.
The turning point for Sunil Chhetri in his career was the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Cup 2012. In the most action-packed contest against the top football-playing nations, India sealed a historic win and lifted the SAFF Cup Title after a long time. India’s victory was accredited to the star performer and striker Sunil Chhetri.
Sunil Chhetri also contributed to India’s victory at the AFC Challenge Cup in 2008. After his brilliant performance at the Nehru Cup, Sunil was selected in the Indian team for the AFC Cup. Owing to Chhetri’s riveting performance, India won the challenge cup and qualified for the AFC Asian Cup after 27 years. Chhetri also scored a couple of goals in India’s short-lived campaign at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup.
Sunil Chhetri is one of the highest intern goal scorers in the world. In his 125 appearances for India, he has scored 80 goals which are the fifth highest of all time and the second-highest amongst the active players.
Sunil Chhetri Captaincy
Sunil Chhetri was appointed as the captain of the Indian football team before the AFC Challenge Cup in Malaysia in 2012. Chhetri donned the Indian jersey with pride as he scored 21 goals in the tournament that helped India to win the title and qualify for the Asian Cup. Chhatri continued to lead the Indian team with an example as India won many titles under his leadership including SAFF, Nehru, and AFC Challenge Cup.
Sunil Chhetri Wife
Sunil Chhetri married his longtime girlfriend Sonam Bhattacharya in a private ceremony on 4th December 2017. Sonam is the daughter of Sunil’s mentor and former international footballer Subrata Bhattacharya. The two were in a secret relationship and share a mesmerizing bond. As of now, the couple has no children.
Sunil Chhetri Net Worth
The estimated net worth of Sunil Chhetri is Rs. 10 crores. The Indian striker has earned a significant amount of his income through his professional contracts with Mumbai City and Bengaluru FC. Chhetri is also the captain of the Indian football team who holds many records. He also signed a deal with Kansas City at the Major League Soccer.
Sunil owns one of the most lavish houses in Bangalore. His house is a farmhouse-type luxurious bungalow. His collection of cars included an Audi A6 and has other bikes and cars in his garage.
Sunil Chhetri-Virat Kohli racism controversy
Sunil Chhetri and Virat Kohli had once conducted a live talk show over Instagram in lockdown. While the two were in a conversation, Chhetri was targeted by a spectator who made racist comments against him. The user allegedly typed in that “Ye Nepali Kaun hai”, meaning who is this person from Nepal! This sparked controversy amongst the Indian fans who strongly condemned the comments made by the user.
Sunil Chhetri Records
- Sunil Chhetri is the first person with a Nepalese background to sign for the JCT Football club.
- In the Santosh Trophy, Chhetri scored two consecutive hattricks of goals against Orissa and Railways.
- Chhetri was the second-highest goalscorer for JCT in the football season in 2006-07.
- Sunil was the third-highest goal scorer at Hero I-League in 2007.
- AIFF Player of the Year 2007, 2011, 2013, and 2014.
- The highest number of goals for Bengaluru FC at the Hero I League in 2013-14.
- Highest goal scorer for Indians at the international level (80).
Sunil Chhetri Awards & Achievements
- Arjuna Award
- Padma Shri
- Major Dhyanchand Khel Ratna Award
- Player of the Tournament, SAFF 2013
Sunil Chhetri Facts
- Sunil loves to listen to music, play cricket, badminton, and tennis.
- His favorite cricketers are Lionel Messi and David Villa.
- Chhetri is fond of Bollywood as and his favorite actors are Shahrukh Khan and Konkona Sen.
- He is also fond of cricket and admires Sachin Tendulkar.