In the recent Intercontinental Cup match, the Indian skipper scored two goals in a winning effort against Tajikistan, taking his tally to 70. In the process, the Bengaluru FC player beat Argentine forward Lionel Messi’s tally of 68 to become the 2nd highest international goal scorer.
Sunil Chhetri Becomes Second Highest International Goal-Scorer After Cristiano Ronaldo; Beats Lionel Messi https://t.co/vBrJHT7hEd— Shyam Sunder Reddy (@shyamsunder2207) 11 July 2019
With the country in a Cricket World Cup frenzy, the game is almost a religion for many in the country, few sports enthusiasts and media outlets were free to focus on the Indian footballer’s achievement.
Upset by mainstream media's noncoverage of Chhetri's record, Indian football fans took to social media, to ask why so little attention was being given to the athlete, who should have made the country just as proud as the cricketers.
#SunilChhetri made us proud!— Gitanjali D.S🇮🇳 (@Gitanjali_DS) 12 July 2019
The 34-year-old striker, who has been in peak form in the last couple of years, has earlier won the honour #PlayerOfTheYear in 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2017. pic.twitter.com/QktCTijpNl
It’s just not Cricket— asoka raina (@AsokaRaina) 11 July 2019
Sunil Chhetri, surpassed Messi; Cristiano Ronaldo still tops the list of highest goal-scorers among active footballers.
C A Bhavani Devi the first Indian to secure a gold medal in an international fencing.
Its time we gave space to other sports
Dear Sir,@narendramodi— KANCHAN PARASHAR (@KancParashar) 10 July 2019
Why there is no importance given or media coverage to other athletes & games which is equally important than cricket and it also carry image of our country. Mr Sunil Chhetri became second highest international goal scorer but there is no sound it at all.
Now that you're all disappointed in Indian cricket. It's probably a good time to remind y'll of Sunil Chhetri. For those of you who STILL don't know, he's the guy who beat Messi's highest goal score & is only second to Ronaldo now. 🤷♀️— Nabila (@nabilazaidi) 10 July 2019
Cricket is Ok.....but don’t forget Indian soccer team captain Sunil Chhetri’s super achievement who surpassed Lione… https://t.co/wYQq0ZgdoK— Keith Ving (@Merovingian1983) 9 July 2019
However, as football fans complained that cricket was “overhyped” in the country, Chhetri, like a true sportsperson congratulated the Indian Cricket Team for their “fantastic journey” in the Cricket World Cup as the team crashed out in the tournament semi-finals.
This team you've led has played the kind of cricket to make all of us proud, @imVkohli. It was a fantastic journey that fell a few yards short, but I'm sure you boys will pick yourselves up soon. Very proud of Team India.— Sunil Chhetri (@chetrisunil11) 11 July 2019
Team India, on 10 July, was knocked out of the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England, with an 18-run defeat by New Zealand in the rain-affected semi-final.
Chhetri is superseded only by Portuguese legend Cristiano Ronaldo, who sits comfortably at the top with a tally of 88 international goals for Portugal.
The Indian striker’s case of mainstream media negligence only highlights the age-old issue of athletes other than cricketers not getting due recognition in the country.
Athletes that play: football, badminton, kabaddi and tennis, reportedly earn only a fraction of the money made by cricketers in the country.