12:47 GMT +323 September 2019
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    India's captain Sunil Chhetri (C) greets his team's supporters after winning the Hero Intercontinental Cup football match between India and Kenya, in Mumbai, on June 4, 2018

    Indian Football Fans Fume as Country’s Skipper's Feat 'Surpassing Messi’ Goes Unnoticed

    © AFP 2019 / PUNIT PARANJPE
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): As Indian Football Captain’s feat of surpassing star footballer Lionel Messi’s international goals tally went virtually unnoticed in the country, netizens have sharply reacted to Sunil Chhetri not getting his due moment of glory.

    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.

    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.

     

    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.


    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    Chhetri is superseded only by Portuguese legend Cristiano Ronaldo, who sits comfortably at the top with a tally of 88 international goals for Portugal.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. 

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