Success, both home and away

Sunil Chhetri was named the Sportsman of the Year (Other Team Sport) at the Sportstar Aces Awards supported by Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, in association with MRF.

The year 2018 saw Sunil Chhetri enjoy great success with both his club Bengaluru FC and the national team.   -  K. Muraili Kumar

Sunil Chhetri had a stupendous 2018 that saw him win the Sportsman of the Year (Other Team Sport) at the Sportstar Aces Awards supported by Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, in association with MRF.

The year saw him enjoy great success with both his club Bengaluru FC and the national team. Chhetri steered Bengaluru FC to the Super Cup title and also to a runner-up finish in the Indian Super League, in what was the club’s debut appearance.

He then captained the Indian side that clinched the Intercontinental Cup in June and scored a remarkable eight goals in the tournament.

Chhetri’s crowning glory came at the AFC Asian Cup 2019, where he marshalled a young Indian side against the continent’s best. He scored a brace against Thailand in India’s opening clash and in the process became the world’s second-leading goalscorer among active footballers. Though India could not progress past the group stages, Chhetri earned praise aplenty and former India coach Stephen Constantine labelled him as the “Indian Messi.”

“I’d rather have been in front of a microphone expressing my gratitude, but circumstances mean I have to do this video instead. It’s always an honour and a huge motivation to be recognised for your efforts and I’m really grateful to everyone at Sportstar. I’m extremely sorry I couldn’t be there to receive the award. I promise to work very hard on myself and improve myself both for the country and the club,” he said via a video message.