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Sunil Chhetri is arguably one of the greatest footballers that India has ever produced. 

Born in Secunderabad, Telangana, Sunil Chhetri made his India national U-20 football team debut at the 2004 South Asian Games in Pakistan. India registered a 1-0 win against Pakistan U-23 side on March 30, 2004.

Four days later, Sunil Chhetri netted a brace in India’s 4-1 victory over Bhutan U-23 team.

Having impressed at the junior level, the talented forward later made his senior India national football team debut against Pakistan in June 2005.

Since then, Chhetri has emerged as a goal-scoring machine for India in international football. 

How many goals has Sunil Chhetri scored for India in international football?

Sunil Chhetri has scored 94 goals in 150 appearances for the India national football team. He is currently India’s all-time top goal-scorer and is in the fourth position for most goals in international football. Known lovingly as ‘captain, leader, legend’ by fans, Chhetri is currently the third-highest active goalscorer in international football after Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Year

Appearances 

Goals

2005

5

1

2006

1

0

2007

7

6

2008

13

8

2009

6

1

2010

6

3

2011

17

13

2012

8

4

2013

11

5

2014

2

3

2015

12

6

2016

4

2

2017

6

5

2018

6

8

2019

11

7

2021

10

8

2022

6

4

2023

14

9

2024

5

1

Total

150

94

Apart from being India football team’s all-time leading goal-scorer, Sunil Chhetri is also the most-capped player for India. He has made 150 official appearances for India at international level.

Chhetri’s first international tournament was the 2007 Nehru Cup held in New Delhi. Till date, he has netted nine goals in 14 appearances in Nehru Cup history.

Apart from the Nehru Cup, Chhetri has represented India in SAFF Championships, FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, AFC Asian Cup qualifiers, Intercontinental Cups, AFC Asian Cup and King’s Cup.

Sunil Chhetri goals by competition

Competition

Appearances

Goals

SAFF Championship

27

23

FIFA World Cup qualifiers

23

10

Nehru Cup

14

9

AFC Asian Cup qualifiers

12

8

Intercontinental Cup

11

13

AFC Challenge Cup

8

4

AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers

6

3

AFC Asian Cup

8

4

King's Cup

1

1

Merdeka Tournament

1

1

Chhetri has been a prolific goal-scorer for India, having scored four hat-tricks in international football. He recorded hat-tricks against Tajikistan in 2008, Vietnam in 2010, Chinese Taipei in 2018, and Pakistan in 2023.

As far as a favourite opponent is concerned, Chhetri has scored his most international goals against Nepal and Maldives. While he has netted nine goals in 13 appearances versus Nepal, he has scored the same number of goals in just six games against Maldives.

Sunil Chhetri’s favourite opponents

Opposition

Appearances

Goals

Nepal

13

9

Maldives

6

8

Bangladesh

6

6

Chinese Taipei

5

6

Cambodia

3

5

Having bagged several records to his name, Sunil Chhetri will go down as one of the greatest footballers to have ever graced the beautiful game. Apart from his international exploits, Chhetri has also scored more than 150 goals at club level.

Photo credit: Alamy

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