Happy Birthday Sunil Chhetri: Five interesting facts about the Indian football team skipper
Happy Birthday Sunil Chhetri: Five interesting facts about the Indian football team skipper

The Indian football team skipper Sunil Chhetri will turn 36 on Monday, August 3.

Chhetri, on Saturday, was voted the favourite player of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 by the fans.

Chhetri edged out Eldor Shomurodov of Uzbekistan in the final by a 51-49 percent of votes in a fan poll conducted by the AFC.

"19 days, 561,856 votes The #AsianCup2019 favourite player has been decided. Congratulations Sunil Chhetri!" said the AFC in its tweet announcing the result.

On the note of his upcoming birthday, here are five interesting facts about the Indian football team skipper.

1. In his childhood, Sunil Chhetri studied at Bahai School in Gangtok, Bethany’s in Darjeeling, Loyola School in Kolkata, and Army Public School, Dhaula Kuan in New Delhi.

2. As per reports, Chhetri signed a three-year contract with English club Queens Park Rangers in 2009. However, he was not allowed a work permit by the British Government as India was not in the top 70 of FIFA World rankings.

3. In 2010, Chhetri became the first Indian to play in the Major League Soccer (MLS) as he was signed by American club Kansas City Wizards. He also became the third Indian player to play outside south Asia.

4. Chhetri is the first Indian footballer to score 50 international goals for his national side.

5. Chhetri is second only to Cristiano Ronaldo in the number of goals scored at the international stage by active players. While the Portuguese has scripted 99 goals to his name, Chhetri has 72.

The 35-year-old Indian captain scored twice during the group stage of the Asian Cup in the beginning of last year. Both goals came in their 4-1 drubbing of Thailand in the opening match.

India came close to securing a Round of 16 spot but conceded late goals in their last two matches against hosts UAE and Bahrain to bow out in the group stage.

The poll was conducted by AFC on its official Instagram handle.

With 72 goals and 115 appearances, Chhetri is India's all-time highest scorer and the most-capped player.

Chhetri, who was earlier named an Asian Icon by the AFC on his 34th birthday, is the second highest international scorer among active footballers, behind Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and ahead of Argentina's Lionel Messi.

The Chhetri-led India is scheduled to face Qatar at home in a World Cup Qualifier on October 8, take on Bangladesh away on November 12 and then host Afghanistan on November 17.

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