Indian football team captain enjoys a superstar status in the country for his consistent show. In 115 appearances, Chhetri has scored 72 goals. In fact, many of us are not aware that India’s ‘Captain Fantastic’ is number ten in the list of most international goal scorers.
Overcoming initial challenges
Chhetri rose to fame by overcoming several obstacles in his 18-year-old career. In a recent interview, he narrated the criticism he had to face from the Sporting Lisbon head coach when he joined them in 2012. “My coach told me that I was not good enough to play for the Sporting Lisbon first team. He told me to get lost and move to the B team,” Chhetri shared. In 2012, Sporting Lisbon, a prominent Portuguese club had bought him for a three year-contract but Chhetri went home after a stint of nine months.
“My coach was right. My pace was very slow. Sporting Lisbon was too fast for me. I played five games but did not score a single goal. There was a huge release clause. But I told the coach that I want to return to India. They were really nice, and it helped,” he added.
Road to fame
After his return, Chhetri shined in both domestic and internationals as a top scorer. He became an important member of the Bengaluru FC and led the team to ISL title in the 2018-19 season. Can Chhetri finish his career with a rare feat of 100 international goals? Time will tell.