All India Football Federation (AIFF) is all set to recommend Indian national football team captain Sunil Chhetri’s name for the Rajeev Gandhi Khel Ratna award. Relevant documents for his nomination are yet to be submitted, an official told ANI.
The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports had extended the deadline for sending the nominations from June 21 for the National Sports Awards 2021.
Khel Ratna is India’s highest sporting honour and in 2020, for the first time in history, five athletes including Rohit Sharma, Manika Batra, Vinesh Phogat, Rani Rampal and Mariyappan Phangavelue received the award.
India women ODI and Test captain Mithali Raj and men’s offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin will reportedly be recommended by the BCCI for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award.
Chhetri earlier this month had surpassed Lionel Messi’s tally of 72 international goals in India’s 2-0 win over Bangladesh to stand behind top-ranked Cristiano Ronaldo (103) among active players. However, he dismissed any comparison between him and the Argentine superstar. “The fact is there is no comparison whatsoever (with Messi)," Chhetri, who has scored 74 international goals, said from Doha.
“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."
However, on Tuesday, Lionel Messi(75) has surpassed Sunil Chhetri in the international goals tally following a brace in Argentina’s convincing 4-1 win over Bolivia in their final group game at the Copa America 2021.
Messi is now the joint-ninth highest goalscorer in international football along with Hungary’s Sandor Kocsis, Japanese legend Kunishige Kamamoto and Iraq’s Bashar Abdullah. Sunil Chhetri is occupying the 13th spot.
More to follow…