India’s football captain Sunil Chhetri has played down comparisons with the great Lionel Messi. Chhetri recently overtook Messi’s tally of goals (72) after he scored a brace against Bangladesh at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium on Monday. Chhetri stated that there is no comparison with Messi and the whole world, including him, is Argentine’s fan.
Chhetri became the second highest active goalscorer and he is only behind Cristaino Ronaldo. The Portugal international has scored 103 goals in his glorious career. On the other hand, Argentine Lionel Messi is fourth on the list of highest active goalscorers as he has found the back of the net on 72 occasions in 143 matches.
“I am not annoyed with this comparison but my take on it is this: there is no comparison whatsoever with Messi or any player in that category. There are thousands of players better than me. People who understand football, they know it,” he said. “I am proud of scoring 74 goals for my country. Till the last match I play I will give my best.”
“When anyone sees those (top goal scorer) charts, be happy for five seconds as an Indian and that’s about it. Forget about me and Messi because the whole world, including me, is a fan of Messi.”
On the other hand, there has been a lot of talk regarding Sunil Chhetri’s retirement as he is 36 years old. However, the talisman added that he is enjoying his football and the thought of hanging his boots hasn’t crossed his mind.
“I’m not thinking about hanging my boots. I’m not arrogant here. I am enjoying my football. I have never been fitter than now. I am 36 but the zeal and hunger of playing for the country is still there,” Chhetri said in an online interaction from Doha. “A lot of people ask I am 36 and how long I will continue. I am not bothered. People will have opinions and I am fine with that. The day I don’t enjoy my football, I will go, I will not be there.”
India next face Afghanistan on June 15th at the same venue as they will hope to finish third in Group E which would seal their place in the 2023 Asian Cup.