Mumbai. Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri is making his name among the great players of the world. The reason for this is that Chhetri is just one goal away from Lionel Messi in the list of top goalscorers in the world, leaving behind the great football player Pele. On this achievement, Chhetri says that it is an extraordinary feeling and it is a big deal to reach the ninth position after achieving such a feat. However, India captain Sunil Chhetri said that he would not give much importance to overtaking Pele in the list of top scorers. Instead, he would like to focus on his best performance whether he plays for his country or for any club.
India captain Chhetri scored the 78th and 79th goals in his 124th match at the SAFF Championships in a 3-1 win against hosts Maldives in Male, leaving behind Pele (77) and Hussain Saeed (78 goals) on Wednesday. . He is now tied with Zambia’s Godfrey Chitalu with 79 goals. Joint sixth on this list. Now only Messi (80 goals), Ferenc Puskas (HUN, ESP) top the list with 84 goals, Mokhtar Dahti (MAS) with 89 goals, Ali Dei (IRN) with 109 goals and Cristiano Ronaldo (POR) with 115 goals.
Chhetri was happy to see his name on the list, adding that Pele or other greats were too different to compare each other’s achievements.
Speaking about his memory of watching footage of Pele’s game during a virtual interaction with reporters on Thursday, Chhetri said, “Sadly, I didn’t have more footage of the great man to watch.” But from what I could see, he (Pele) was someone who was very dynamic, his tackle was very powerful at the time. He was physically very hardworking and brutal and scoring goals while playing football was an extraordinary achievement of that era.
About the great Brazilian being considered the greatest of the game, Chhetri said that he does not feel anything about the achievement.
During this, Chhetri said that his (Pele’s) many goals and statistics speak for themselves. As far as I go above them, I think nothing of it. I don’t pay much attention to it. I am happy to score goals for my team. Chhetri is now third in the goal scorers list after Ronaldo and Messi.
He said that there is no comparison between us. If we are all happy that I am able to score for my country, that is enough. We are all happy that our player is scoring well and doing his best for the country. That’s about it and not much else. So, as I’ve said before, take a few minutes to appreciate them and ignore these numbers.
The Indian football captain said that there is an atmosphere of excitement in the Indian camp after the victory in hostile conditions against Maldives. He admitted that things were not going well after the draws against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, which put the team in a win-win situation against both Nepal and Maldives to make it to the finals.
He said that the senior players did not let the youth down despite their disappointing performance in the first two matches and performed well afterwards, which he is very happy with.
He said that the main reason for the poor performance in the first two matches was that the players did not play many matches together and hence could not make the right combination. He said that the Indian team did not have a good start against Bangladesh and though they played a little better against Sri Lanka, they missed many chances. He said that he improved his game in the 1-0 win against Nepal and things were much better in the match against Maldives and he was slowly on the right track.
When asked about the pressure of scoring goals in every match, Chhetri said that he doesn’t think on those lines and there is just a simple philosophy for life, just go to give your best in every match no matter what. Be. He said that he doesn’t care what others are saying about him and his game, he just wants to keep doing his best till his last match.
I focus on work. It is not good for me to read, watch the things that happen about me, so I keep myself away from it. My job is simple, I try and score for whatever team I am playing for, my country or my club. Sometimes I score, sometimes I miss silly goals, which are part of the game. I try to keep things as simple as that.
On India’s upcoming SAFF Championship Football final against Nepal on Friday, Chhetri said Nepal is the best team in the tournament even though they don’t have a top star. They are a very good team and even though they have never won the title, it will be a tough match and we have to put up a good performance against them. It is worth noting that this championship has all the best teams, but India is also playing as a strong team and hence India is being considered as the favorite in this tournament. India has won this championship seven times so far. (IANS)
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