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Sunil Chhetri Biography, Family, FIFA Men’s Ranking, Awards- Full Details

Sunil Chhetri Biography: Sunil Chhetri, the 39-year-old captain and forward of the Indian team, is set to lead the tram in a FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifier Second-Round match against Kuwait. The match is schedule to be held at the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium in Kuwait on 16 August 2023.

Sunil Chhetri Quick Info

Full NameSunil Chhetri
Sunil Chhetri Date of Birth3 August 1984 (age 39 as of 2024)
Sunil Chhetri Birth PlaceSecunderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
Sunil Chhetri Residence Bengaluru, India
Sunil Chhetri Height5 ft 7 in (173 cm)
Sunil Chhetri Weight62kg
Sunil Chhetri NationalityIndian
PositionCaptain (Forward Player)
Sunil Chhetri ISL TeamBengaluru FC
Sunil Chhetri Jersey Number11
Sunil Chhetri FatherKB Chhetri
Sunil Chhetri MotherSushila Chhetri
Sunil Chhetri SisterBandana Chhetri
Sunil Chhetri WifeSonam Bhattacharya (2017)
FIFA Men’s Ranking4th
Sunil Chhetri Net Worth1 Million

Sunil Chhetri Biography

Sunil Chhetri, the captain of Indian national football team and a player for Bengaluru FC, is considered one of the best Indian footballer ever. As a forward player, Sunil has achieved success not only in domestic leagues but also in international competitions, earning recognition nationally and internationally.

On his 34th birthday, he was honored with the title ‘Asian Icon’ from the continental governing body of the sport.

Sunil has a record of 92 international goals in 142 appearances as of July 2023, ranks as the fourth-highest goal scorer among active players globally, after Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Sunil Chhetri Early Life

Sunil Chhetri, who is 39 years old (as of 2023), was born on August 3, 1984, in Secunderabad, India (which is now part of Telangana).

His family has a strong connection to football. His father, K. B. Chhetri, served in the Indian Army’s Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers and played for its team. His mother, Sushila Chhetri, and twin sister, Bandana Chhetri, also made contributions to the Nepal women’s national football team.

Despite having Nepali roots, Sunil grew up moving to different Indian cities because of his father’s military service. His passion for football blossomed while attending Bahai School in Gangtok, Sikkim. His skills caught the eye of scouts from various football clubs, and at the age of 17, Sunil moved to New Delhi to join the Tata Football Academy, which is famous for nurturing many talented football players in India.

Sunil Chhetri Personal Life

Sunil Chhetri Wife: Sunil Chhetri got married to Sonam Bhattacharya when he was 33 years old, on December 4, 2017. Sonam is the daughter of the renowned football player Subrata Bhattacharya, who played for Mohun Bagan.

Sunil Chhetri Children: Sunil Chhetri and his wife, Sonam Bhattacharjee became parents on 31 August 2023. They named their son ‘Dhruv’.

On 27 September 2022, FIFA released a three-episode documentary called ‘Captain Fantastic‘ on FIFA+. The documentary covered different aspects of Chhetri’s life, such as his early struggles, his debut for the Indian team at the age of 20, his romance, and his career as a footballer, which included many awards and records.

Father K.B. Chhetri Sunil Chhetri Father K.B. Chhetri
MotherSushila ChhetriSunil Chhetri Mother Sushila Chhetri
Sunil Chhetri SisterBandana ChhetriSunil Chhetri Sister Bandana Chhetri
WifeSonam BhattacharyaSunil Chhetri Wife Sonam Bhattacharya

Sunil Chhetri Football Career

Sunil Chhetri started playing football from a very young age. Throughout his football club career Sunil Chhetri scored a total of 91 goals in 212 appearances for the club.

While studying in the 12th grade at a college in New Delhi, Sunil received a call to join the Indian football team for a championship in Kuala Lumpur in 2001. During that time, the famous Indian football club called Mohun Bagan noticed Sunil Chhetri’s talent and decided to sign him for their upcoming matches in India. This turned out to be a turning point in his football career.

Sunil’s outstanding performances caught the attention of international clubs, and in 2007, he had the chance to try out for Coventry City in England. However, a transfer to the foreign club didn’t happen at that time.

In his football club, he usually plays as a left winger to assist and support his foreign center forward. But for the national team, he mainly plays as a center forward, which allows him to be a goal scorer.

Sunil Chhetri Jersey Number: Sunil Chhetri wears the number 11 jersey.

Sunil Chhetri Youth Career: Before pursuing his club career, Chhetri began his football journey at City Club Delhi for the period 2001-2002.

Sunil Chhetri Club Career

During his football club career, Sunil Chhetri has been associated with several Indian football clubs from both the Indian Super League (ISL) and the I-League. Below are some brief details regarding his club involvement.

SeasonFootball ClubAppearancesGoals
2001-2002 City Football Club (Youth Career)
2002-2005Mohun Bagan188
2008-2009East Bengal2613
2010Kansas City Wizards (International Club)10
2011Chirag United77
2011-2012Mohun Bagan169
2012-2013Sporting CP (International Club)30
2013Churchill Brothers (loan)136
2015-2016Mumbai City177
2016Bengaluru (loan)209
2016 – PresentBengaluru18180
As of July 2023Club Career Total452217

Mohun Bagan Super Giant

2002-2005: Sunil Chhetri initiated his professional journey with Mohun Bagan AC, a Kolkata-based club, in 2002. During his three-season tenure from 2002 to 2005, he made 18 appearances and scored 8 goals.

2011-2012: Later, on 22nd July 2011, Chhetri had re-signed with Mohun Bagan on a one-year deal. In the 2011-2012 season, he participated in 16 matches and scored an impressive 9 goals.

Jagatjit Cotton & Textile Football Club (JCT)

After his time with Mohun Bagan, Chhetri joined JCT for the 2005–06 season. Throughout this period, he played in 78 matches for the club and demonstrated his exceptional goal-scoring ability by scoring a total of 49 goals. Chhetri’s impressive performances at JCT made him famous as a top striker in Indian football, leading him to being honored with the AIFF Player of the Year award for 2007.

East Bengal

In the 2008–2009 season, Chhetri joined East Bengal another Kolkata-based club. Chhetri represented 26 matches and scored 13 goals.


Following his departure from East Bengal, Chhetri secured a two-year contract with Dempo, starting from 2009 to 2010. Notably, the contract incorporated a clause granting him the opportunity to participate in trials abroad.

Kansas City Wizards (International Football Club)

In March 2010, Chhetri signed with the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer (MLS) after a successful trial, becoming the first Indian to play in MLS and one of the few to play outside of South Asia. He made his debut in April 2010 in a U.S. Open Cup qualification game but later left the team in 2011 to compete for the India national team in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup.

Chirag United

In 2011, Sunil Chhetri joined Chirag United for the remaining matches of the 2010–2011 I-League season. He made 7 appearances for the team and scored 7 goals during this period.

Sporting Clube de Portugal (Sporting CP – International Football Club)

In the 2012–2013 season, Chhetri signed a two-year contract with Sporting CP and played for their reserve team, Sporting CP B. He made 3 appearances for the team during that time.

Churchill Brothers (loan)

In 2013, Chhetri was loaned to Churchill Brothers in the I-League to gain more playing time. He made 13 appearances and scored 6 goals during his loan spell. Chhetri played a crucial role in helping Churchill Brothers win their second-ever I-League title, scoring four goals in eight matches during the season.

Mumbai City

Sunil Chhetri joined Mumbai City for the 2015-2016 Indian Super League season for a price of Rs. 1.2 crores, making him the most expensive Indian player at the auctions. He scored 7 goals in 17 appearances that season and later became the all-time top scorer for Mumbai City FC. In 2017, he signed a three-year contract, becoming the highest-paid Indian player at that time.

Bengaluru FC

2013 to 2015: Chhetri played for Bengaluru FC, making 58 appearances and scoring 26 goals. In the 2013–15 season, he led the team to their first-ever I-League title with 14 goals and 7 assists in 23 appearances. Chhetri’s exceptional performance played a crucial role in Bengaluru FC’s success during their debut season in the league.

2016 (loan): Chhetri made a comeback to Bengaluru FC on loan for the 2016–17 I-League season and signed a one-year contract. His contribution of 5 goals played a key role in helping the team secure the league title. Additionally, in the 2016 AFC Cup, he scored twice, which led Bengaluru FC to their first-ever quarter-final appearance in the tournament.

2016-Present: Chhetri’s consistent performances saw him become the top Indian scorer in the 2017–18 Indian Super League season. He continued to shine, helping Bengaluru FC win the Indian Super League title in 2018–19 and securing the Durand Cup in 2022. In February 2021, Chhetri made his 200th appearance for Bengaluru FC and scored his 100th goal for the team later in the season. He extended his contract until 2023 in June 2021.

International Career

Sunil Chhetri is the captain of the India National Football Team and holds the record for the most goals and appearances for India. Chhetri is India’s all-time leading goal-scorer and is currently ranked fourth for the most goals in international football. Among active players worldwide, he is the third-highest goal-scorer, after Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

He made his debut for India U-20 in March 2004 and demonstrated his ability by scoring two goals in a 4-1 victory against Bhutan U-23. In June 2005, he made his first senior appearance for the National football team, scoring against Pakistan in Queta.

Chhetri’s first international tournament was the 2007 Nehru Cup held in New Delhi, where he showcased an impressive performance, contributing to India’s victory in the tournament. He has scored 92 goals in 142 official international matches since his debut in international football tournaments.

Chhetri represented India in various tournaments, including the SAFF Championships, FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, AFC Asian Cup qualifiers, Intercontinental Cups, AFC Asian Cup, and King’s Cup.

Sunil Chhetri is the only Indian football player in the top 10 international goal-scorers list as of October 2019. He has scored in different competitions, with the most goals coming in SAFF Championship matches and friendlies. He has also recorded four hat-tricks and scored braces on sixteen occasions.

Sunil Chhetri Honours

Sunil Chhetri has earned numerous honours throughout his career for his performances on the field. His list of accolades reflects his dedication, talent, and impact on Indian football. Some of the honours he has won include:

Sunil Chhetri Records | Achievements

  • First Indian player to play in three continents
  • Most goals by an Indian in AFC Competitions
  • Most hat-tricks by an Indian in the Indian Super League
  • First Indian player to score a hat-trick in the Indian Super League
  • Highest Indian goal scorer in the Indian Super League
  • Highest Indian goal scorer in the I-League
  • AIFF Player of the Year for a record seven times
  • Most hat-tricks for India
  • Most appearances for India
  • Highest international goal scorer among Indians
  • First Footballer to receive Khel Ratna Award

Sunil Chhetri Individual Honours

  • FIFA honored him during the 2022 FIFA World Cup with a 3-episode documentary for becoming the 3rd highest international goal scorer among active players.
  • AIFF Player of the Year: 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018–19, 2021–22
  • FPAI Indian Player of the Year: 2009, 2018, 2019
  • SAFF Championship Player of the Tournament: 2011, 2015, 2021
  • SAFF Championship Top Scorer: 2011, 2021
  • I-League Golden Boot: 2013–14
  • 2018 Indian Super Cup: Golden Boot
  • Hero of the I-League: 2016–17
  • Hero of the Indian Super League: 2017–18
  • Hero of the Intercontinental Cup: 2018
  • AFC Asian Icon: 3 August 2018
  • AFC Asian Cup: Favourite Player: 2019
  • AFC Cup All-Time XI (The Strikers): 2021
  • Football Ratna Award (first recipient) by Football Delhi: 18 February 2019
  • The Times of India TOISA Best Footballer 2021
  • Sunil Chhetri was felicitated for his 150th match for the national team on 26 March 2024.

Sunil Chhetri Civilian Awards

Arjuna Award2011 Sunil Chhetri Arjuna Award
Former President Pratibha Patil presented the award at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
Padma Shri Award 2019Sunil Chhetri Padma Shri Award
President Ram Nath Kovind presented the award at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
Khel Ratna Award2021Sunil Chhetri Khel Ratna Award
President Ram Nath Kovind presented the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award at the National Sports Awards ceremony.

Sunil Chhetri International Goals Record

Sunil Chhetri goals total by competition

SAFF Championship2723
FIFA World Cup Qualifiers199
Nehru Cup149
AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers128
Intercontinental Cup1113
AFC Challenge Cup84
AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers63
AFC Asian Cup54
King’s Cup11

Sunil Chhetri Hat-tricks

2008 AFC Challenge CupTajikistan 4-1
2010 FriendlyVietnam3-1
2018 Intercontinental CupChinese Taipei5-0
2023 SAFF ChampionshipPakistan4-0

Sunil Chhetri goals by year


Sunil Chhetri Total Goals Tally


Top 10 International Football Goals Scorer

Sunil Chhetri FIFA ranking in the world is the third-highest goal scorer in international football among active players. He has scored 92 goals, while Cristiano Ronaldo leads with 123 goals, and Lionel Messi is second with 103 goals. The names in bold letters belong to players who are still playing for their national teams.

The players mentioned in italics not only have the most goals but also hold the record for the most appearances (caps) for their respective countries.

The rank is determined based on the total count of FIFA member nations, which is 211.

RankPlayer NameCountryGoals
1Christiano RonaldoPortugal123
2Ali DaeiIran108
3Lionel MessiArgentina103
4Sunil ChhetriIndia92
5Mokhtar DahariMalaysia89
6Ference PuskasHungary84
7Ali MabkhoutUnited Arab Emirates81
8Godfrey ChitaluZambia 79
8Robert LewandowskiPoland79
9Hussein SaeedIraq78

Unknown and Interesting Facts About Sunil Chhetri

  1. Sunil Chhetri studied at various schools in Gangtok, Darjeeling, Kolkata, and New Delhi.
  2. Chhetri left Ashutosh College during Class 12 to represent India at the Asian School Championships in Malaysia in 2001.
  3. He has played for ten different clubs, starting with City Club in Delhi at the age of 17.
  4. In 2009, Chhetri signed a three-year contract with Queens Park Rangers, but couldn’t get a work permit due to India’s FIFA ranking.
  5. He became the captain of the national team in 2012.
  6. Chhetri scored his first senior international goal during a tour of Pakistan in 2005.
  7. Notable performances include facing Sao Paulo in 2007 and scoring 12 goals during the 2006-07 National Football League.
  8. Sunil Chhetri has played 18 matches for Mohun Bagan, which is the main rival team of East Bengal. During these matches, he managed to score eight goals for Mohun Bagan.
  9. Sunil Chhetri ranking third-highest goal scorer in the world among active players.
  10. Sunil Chhetri will lead the U23 national football teams to play against China in the Qualifier Round at the 19th Asian Games 2023.
  11. Sunil Chhetri to lead team India in the FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifier Second Round Match against Kuwait to be held at the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium in Kuwait on 16 August 2023.

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FAQs about Sunil Chhetri Biography

1. What is Sunil Chhetri’s international goal ranking in the world?

Sunil Chhetri’s impressive tally of 92 international goals in 142 appearances stands as the fourth-highest international goal scorer among active players, with only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi ahead of him.

2. Who is the top scorer in the Indian national team?

Sunil Chhetri is the top scorer for the Indian national team with 92 goals

3. Did Sunil Chhetri play FIFA World Cup Qualifiers?

Yes, Sunil Chhetri played in the 12 FIFA World Cup qualifiers matches, scoring six times.

4. What is Sunil Chhetri’s Jersey number?

Sunil Chhetri’s jersey number is 11.

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