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Sunil Chhetri vs Messi: A tale of two superstars

Everyone is pretty aware of Lionel Messi but barring Indian football fans not many have heard the name of Sunil Chhetri. But when it comes to international football he is very synonymous with the likes of Messi. Sunil Chhetri vs Messi has been a battle for the most number of international goals and it remains to be seen who finishes higher.

Messi is one of the greats to have ever played the sport of football and his numerous records speak for himself. Messi dominated the La Liga for Barcelona before his move to Paris Saint Germain last summer.

But in international football, Chhetri has been more relevant than Messi as he hogged the limelight for his brilliant contribution to the cause.

Sunil Chhetri vs Messi: International Goals

PlayersMatchGoalsGoals per match
Sunil Chhetri125800.63
Cristiano Ronaldo160810.72

Lionel Messi has his age by his side as the Argentine forward is currently 34 and will have a whole lot of time to make up the gap created by Cristiano Ronaldo. Messi still has a lot to offer and with the 2022 World Cup hovering on the horizon he will have his chance to add a few more goals to his tally.

At the age of 37, Sunil is still going strong but the All India Football Federation hardly arranges any international matches these days so it could be difficult for him to up the ante. However, it will be very hard to compare these two football maestros and Sunil even insisted in an interview that he himself is a fan of Lionel Messi.

“The fact is there is no comparison whatsoever (with Messi,” said Chhetri.

“When anyone sees those (top goal scorer) chart, 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.”

Messi is currently at number five with 81 goals while Blue Tigers frontman Sunil is just in front of Ali Mabkhout

with 80 goals. Iran’s Ali Daei, Malaysia’s Mokhtar Dahari and Hungary’s Ference Puskas are still ahead of them but all of them have retired from football.

Sunil Chhetri vs Messi: Goals in international competitions

Lionel Messi in international matches
CompetitionsAppearancesGoalsAssists
World Cup qualification582711
International Friendlies473416
Copa America341317
World Cup1965

Messi’s most of the goals came in international friendlies while he also has had some wonderful goals in the World Cup qualifiers. Messi scored 13 goals in Copa America and scored four goals in the proceedings as Argentina went on to lift the title last time.

Sunil Chhetri in international matches
CompetitionsAppearancesGoalsAssists
International Friendlies31173
South Asian Football Federation Championship23186
World Cup Qualification1990
AFC Challenge Cup1370
Asian Cup Qualification840
Intercontinental Cup7110
AFC Asian Cup640

Sunil Chhetri has participated in a whole lot of competitions. The talismanic India captain scored 17 times in international friendlies while he is the second highest goal scorer in the SAFF Championship.

Sunil could be counted among world football’s all time greatest goal scorers as the 37 year old has been scoring at regular intervals for his country. Should India qualify for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup Sunil could lead the team in that competition. Sunil also has 9 goals in the World Cup qualifier.

He has also racked up 11 goals in seven games in the Intercontinental Cup and has fourgoals in six matches in AFC Asian Cup. He also helped India register their wins in the final of the 2018 Intercontinental Cup.

Sunil once overtook Lionel Messi to become the second highest active goalscorer but it took Messi very little time to get back his position.

Sunil Chhetri vs Messi: Goals for clubs

Lionel Messi in club football
ClubsAppearancesGoalsAssists
Barcelona778672303
Paris Saint Germain32913

Messi had spent his entire football career in the La Liga at Barcelona and only the last summer he went on to join Paris Saint Germain on a free transfer. The forward amassed a staggering 672 goals and 303 assists for the Spanish club. But he hasn’t hit the ground running yet in Paris as he has been involved in 22 goal contributions so far.

Sunil Chhetri in club football
ClubsAppearancesGoalsAssists
Bengaluru FC2159716
Mumbai City FC1770
Churchill Brothers1360
Sporting CP B300
Sporting Kansas City

Sunil has been with Bengaluru FC for the last few seasons and even helped the team in winning their first ISL title in 2019. He has scored on 97 occasions so far and will touch the 100 goal mark in the next season.

He also spent a brief period at another ISL side Mumbai City FC but didn’t have the impact as he could manage only 7 goals for them. He was also a part of the Sporting City B side, a club where Cristiano Ronaldo started his career.

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