Indian football skipper Sunil Chhetri equaled Lionel Messi’s tally of 64 international goals with a stunning brace against Kenya in the finals of the Intercontinental Cup in Mumbai on Sunday. In the list of active international goalscorers, the 32-year-old is now only behind Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo who has netted the ball 81 times in 124 appearances. Incidentally, Chhetri’s 64 have come in just 102 appearances. Noticeably, among the three, Chhetri also boasts of better goals per match ratio (0.61). Ronaldo, on the other hand, has a ratio of 0.54 goals per match while Messi has 0.52 goals per match.
Earlier, Chhetri opened his account in the 8th minute of the match when he converted a freekick from Anirudh Thapa to give India the lead and register his 63rd goal. Chhetri finally achieved the milestone in the 29th minute of the match when he chested the ball down from a long diagonal pass from Sandesh Jhingan and slotted it home with his left foot.
— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) 10 June 2018
However, if Chhetri can score a hattrick then he will surpass Messi to become the second highest active goal scorer in international football. In the list of all-time goal scorers, Chhetri and Messi are at the same position (21st). Chhetri is one goal behind former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba who has scored 65 times from 104 matches.
However, before the finals, Chhetri had deemed the comparisons with Messi, Ronaldo as grossly unfair. “I don’t take it seriously. It’s not even fair. The two players who are above me are completely world stars. I am a big fan of [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo. There is a massive difference between them and us. There is no comparison at all,” the Indian skipper had said.