Sunil Chhetri’s name is synonymous with Indian football and is revered by fans who adore the sport. In India, amidst all the frenzy around cricket, Chhetri has still managed to carve out a name for himself. His swiftness on the field, witty humour off the field and extraordinary leadership skills are simply unparalleled. His unwavering dedication to the game has given him the recognition worthy of a global athlete of his calibre.
Part of Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League, Chhetri is arguably one of the greatest Indian footballers of all time. So, keep scrolling as we deep dive into Chhetri’s legendary career and take a closer look at his impressive achievements and net worth.
A look at Sunil Chhetri’s net worth and 21-year-long career
Sunil Chhetri made his debut appearance as part of the Indian football team when he was just 20 years old in a match against Pakistan in 2005. In 2007, Chhetri helped the Indian team lift the Nehru Cup by scoring four goals in the tournament. The following year, he helped his team win another championship, the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup, by scoring four goals in the tournament, including three in the final. In 2009, he was also part of the national squad that won the Nehru Cup.
The turning point in Chhetri’s career was his performance at the 2011 SAFF Championship. He scored a whopping seven goals and even won the Top Scorer, Player of the Tournament and Fair Play awards. This wasn’t the only SAFF Championship where he gave a stellar performance. During the 2015 SAFF Championship, he scored three goals and was given the Most Valuable Player award. During the 2021 edition of the championship, Chhetri was absolutely dominant on the field as he scored five goals during the tournament and won both the Top Scorer and Most Valuable Player awards.
2012 was a landmark year for Chhetri. He was made captain of the Indian national football team during the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup. After helping India win yet another Nehru Cup in 2012 (he was once again the top scorer with four goals), Chhetri joined Sporting Clube de Portugal (Sporting CP). However, after making five appearances, he returned to India.
The ace footballer also holds the record of winning the All India Football Federation (AIFF) Player of the Year award seven times— 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018−19 and 2021−22. Another feather in Chhetri’s cap (pun not intended) is the impressive distinction of being the most-capped Indian footballer.
With his impressive career accomplishments, Chhetri became the first footballer to receive the prestigious Khel Ratna Award — the highest honour bestowed to an athlete by the Government of India. Other government accolades received by him include the Arjuna Award in 2011 and the Padma Shri in 2019. Not to mention, he was also named ‘Asian Icon’ by The Asian Football Confederation in 2018.
💯 100 caps
⚽ 61 goals
Congratulations to @IndianFootball 🇮🇳 captain @chetrisunil11 on his 100th cap! A great achievement! 👏#Chhetri100 pic.twitter.com/YTYlxprKz4
— #AsianCup2023 (@afcasiancup) June 5, 2018
What is his connection with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi?
With 84 international goals, Sunil Chhetri’s ranking is fifth in the world vis-à-vis scoring the most international goals. When it comes to players who are still actively playing, he ranks behind only Cristiano Ronaldo (who has scored a whopping 118 goals for Portugal) and Lionel Messi (98 goals for Argentia). When you also factor in retired players, Ali Daei and Mokhtar Dahari too rank ahead of Chhetri.
In 2022, FIFA took to Twitter to announce a docuseries, titled Captain Fantastic, dedicated to Sunil Chhetri’s life and career in football.
You know all about Ronaldo and Messi, now get the definitive story of the third highest scoring active men’s international.
Sunil Chhetri | Captain Fantastic is available on FIFA+ now 🇮🇳
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) September 27, 2022
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What is Sunil Chhetri’s ‘Captain Fantastic’ about?
In the first episode of the docuseries, the makers capture the transition of Sunil Chhetri to a ‘captain, leader, legend’ by offering the perspective of his close associates, loved ones and colleagues. In the second episode, the docuseries follows Chhetri in his pursuit of achieving one of his big dreams – to play professional football for an elite overseas club. The documentary also showcases all of the incredible records Chhetri has broken while also highlighting the innumerable trophies he has won.
You can watch the three-episode docuseries on the official FIFA website.
Sunil Chhetri’s net worth: His properties, luxury cars and brand endorsements
As of February 2023, the Indian footballer’s net worth amounts to USD 1 million (INR 8.27 crore). Sunil Chhetri’s annual salary ranges from INR 80 lakh to INR 1 crore. He earns mostly through his football matches and brand endorsements, like most athletes.
Chhetri resides in an affluent Bengaluru neighbourhood, with his luxurious home valued at INR 2.5 crore, as per a timesproperty report. The footballer also owns a range of luxurious cars including an Audi A6, a Toyota Fortuner, a Mahindra Scorpio and a Kia Seltos.
Today, Chhetri is considered to be one of the highest-paid footballers in India and is associated with brands like Pintola. In 2019, he signed a three-year deal with the global sportswear brand PUMA.
The Army kid who made it
This ace Indian footballer has inherited his undying love for the sport from his parents. His father, who served in the armed forces, also played football for the Indian Army’s team. While shooting a recent ad with CRED mint, Chhetri revealed his main competition at home was always his mother, Sushila Chhetri, who played for Nepal’s national football team during her younger years.
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(Hero image credit: Instagram Sunil Chhetri)
(Featured image credit: Instagram Sunil Chhetri)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: Earlier in his career, Sunil Chhetri was signed by Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer, and Sporting Clube de Portugal in the Primeira Liga.
Answer: Indian footballer Sunil Chhetri's jersey number is 11.
Answer: Sunil Chhetri won the AFC Challenge Cup in 2008.
Answer: Sunil Chhetri's annual salary ranges from INR 80 lakh to INR 1 crore.