India captain Sunil Chhetri became the fourth highest active International player on Sunday after his goal against Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday. He surpassed England football great Wayne Rooney with a goal to sit on the fourth position after Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Clint Dempsey.
Chhetri’s goal against Kyrgyzstan in Bangalore not only helped India win the crucial AFC Asian Cup Qualifier in Bangalore but also increased his greatness quotient for the cricket-crazy country.
The Captain scored the only goal in the qualifier in the 69th minute which ensured India sat at the top of the Group. He made a brilliant run, dribbled past the defence, returned it to a waiting Jeje who fed a decent ball for his skipper. Chhetri, who was waiting in the area, produced a spectacular goal to give India the lead.
The goal was his 54th strike for India, while Rooney sits at 53. Only football legends Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal, Argentina’s Lionel Messi and American Clint Dempsey stand ahead of the 32-year-old Chhetri.
While Ronaldo is the current leading goalscorer with 73 goals, the Real Madrid star is followed by rival Messi with 58 goals. With two more goals, Chhetri will stand par with Demsey to become the the highest active scorer only after the two legends Ronaldo and Messi.
Under coach Stephen Constantine, India have also improved their FIFA rankings to stand in the top 100 for the first time in 21 years.