Sunil Chhetri on going past Pele in goal-scoring charts: I don’t pay much attention to it

India football skipper Sunil Chhetri on Thursday said that he is not paying much attention to the fact of him going past Pele in goal-scoring charts in international football.

“Sadly, I did not have many footages of the great man Pele to watch. Whatever little that I could see, he was somebody who was very dynamic, very powerful because I am pretty sure you know the kind of challenges that were allowed in those times. Football was a little more physical and brutal, so to play in that era and score as many goals is a great achievement. The footages were very less and I could not see him much. That is the kind of feedback I have about Pele,” said Chhetri while replying to an ANI query during a virtual press conference organised by AIFF.

“Apart from that, his number of goals speak for itself. As far as the fact of me going past him is concerned, I feel nothing about it and I do not pay much attention to it. I am just happy scoring goals for my country,” he added.

Sunil Chhetri on Wednesday broke legendary football player Pele`s record during the match against the Maldives in the ongoing 2021 SAFF Championship. Pele had scored 77 goals for Brazil and Sunil Chhetri went past the Brazilian superstar when he scored a goal in the 62nd minute in the match against the Maldives.

Sunil Chhetri further bettered his tally as he scored another one to have 79 international goals under his belt. The Indian captain is now the third-highest active international goalscorer. Lionel Messi (80) and Cristiano Ronaldo (115) are the two footballers who are ahead of Chhetri in the list of active international goalscorers. The Indian captain has also become the joint sixth-highest goalscorer in the world.

Coming to the match, India defeated Maldives 3-1 to book their spot in the 2021 SAFF Championship Final here in Male, Maldives on Wednesday. Manvir Singh scored the opening goal, while Sunil Chhetri netted a second-half brace, to hand India the three points. Maldives striker Ali Ashfaq scored from the spot in the first half and was the only scorer for the hosts.

With this win, India have now booked themselves a spot in the 2021 SAFF Championship Final, against Nepal on Saturday. 

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