With his twin strikes, the captain led from the front to power India to a 2-0 win over Bangladesh on Monday night, the latest effort helping him surpass Argentina’s global superstar Lionel Messi to become the second highest active international goal-scorer with 74 strikes.“Many people keep on asking as to when Sunil is going to retire. He works so hard on the pitch, and in every training session, he is by far the best,” Stimac said after the match.“He is in such good shape and is working with such professionalism. He is working as if he is 25, playing as if he is 25, and scoring goals like he is 25,” added Stimac.
“Many people were asking last year or so, ‘when is Sunil going to retire?’ (If Chhetri retires) what are we going to do then? By far, in every training, he is our best player,” Stimac said.Chhetri scored two goals in a span of 13 minutes to help India seal its first win in a World Cup qualifier away from home since 2001. Chhetri leads Barcelona superstar Messi by two goals and sits a place above Ali Mabkhout of the UAE, who is third on the list with 73 strikes to his name.
Messi scored his 72nd international goal in a World Cup qualifier against Chile last Thursday, while Mabkhout added to his tally against Malaysia, also last week.Centre back Sandesh Jhingan felt that Chhetri’s name will be remembered even after 100 years. “Some 100 or 200 years down the line, people will still talk about Sunil Chhetri.
As long as there is Indian football, people will remember his name. It’s for everyone to see what he does on the field. “Hence, I would rather like to mention that off the field he is the perfect example for all to follow.”Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu expressed, “I will keep on mentioning that there’s one guy floating in between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi -- and that’s my teammate, my captain Sunil Chhetri.”“It shows his commitment and how consistent he has been scoring goals -- one after the other. It’s simply remarkable.