Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Riding on a splendid hat-trick by captain Sunil Chhetri, India scored a thumping 4-0 win over Pakistan in their opening Group A match of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

In the process, the talismanic striker has now become the second highest goal-scorer in Asia and fourth highest in international football. Chhetri’s three goals took his tally to a total of 90 goals from 138 matches. Only former Iran footballer Ali Daei from Asian region has more goals with 109 strikes in 148 matches.

The Indian captain surpassed Mokhtar Dahari of Malaysia (with 89 goals) to climb to the fourth spot among the highest goal-scorers in international football. Argentina World Cup-winning legend Lionel Messi (103 goals), Iran’s retired player Ali Daei (109 goals) and legendary Portugal striker Cristiano Ronaldo (123) are only ahead of Chhetri in the goal-scoring list.

Among the active players, Chhetri has the third-most goals by an international footballer Only Messi (103 goals) and Cristiano Ronaldo (123 goals) are ahead of the Indian captain.

Top goal scorers in international football

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) – 123 goals in 200 matches

2. Ali Daei (Iran) – 109 goals in 148 matches

3. Lionel Messi (Argentina) – 103 goals in 175 matches

4. Sunil Chhetri (India) – 90 goals in 138 matches

5. Mokhtar Dahari (Malaysia) – 89 goals in 142 matches

6. Ferenc Puskas (Hungary) – 84 goals in 85 matches