‘Retiring As a Legend’: FIFA Pays Tribute to India’s Sunil Chhetri Alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

The shock announcement of Sunil Chhetri’s retirement has brought the Indian footballing world to a standstill as countless showered their praises and flowers for the legendary Indian striker.

The true impact that Chhetri leaves behind on the international stage was recognised as FIFA themselves took it upon themselves to pay homage to the record-breaking striker as they placed him alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Chhetri has played a major role in India’s footballing fortunes in the last decade, earning legendary status in the nation’s sporting history as he finishes his career as the most prolific goal-scorer for India with a tally of 94 goals for the nation.

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His sensational goal tally also ranks him fourth in the all-time list among international goal-scorers too, right behind the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Ali Daei, and Lionel Messi.

FIFA took to their official handle on X, to post a picture of the three currently active legends, placing Chhetri at third for being the third-highest international goalscorer in active duty.

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Chhetri’s accolades and achievements speak for themselves. The Indian skipper has helped the men’s football team win the AFC Challenge Cup in 2008, the SAFF Championship in 2011 and 2015, the Nehru Cup in 2007, 2009 and 2012, and the Intercontinental Cup in 2017 and 2018.

Chhetri was honoured with the Arjuna Award in 2011, the Padma Shri in 2019, and the Khel Ratna, the first footballer ever to receive the award, in 2021.

All good things come to an end. And so is Sunil Chhetri’s career seemingly as the striker called time on his international career and announced that the joint FIFA World Cup and AFC Asian Cup Qualifier match against Kuwait in Kolkata on June 6 will be his last for the Blue Tigers.

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