Indian football stalwart Sunil Chhetri has been nominated for the ‘Best Footballer in Asia’ alongside some of the top names in the continent.
The prestigious, ‘Best Footballer in Asia’ is awarded by Titan Sports, a Chinese Sports Media company. The winner of the award is selected by journalists all over Asia who pick the best player from the continent by voting. The nominees involve both the Asian players who are currently playing in Asia or abroad as well as players from other countries currently representing Asian clubs.
The award launched in 2013, is one of the most coveted awards in Asia. Usually, the winner is selected from a shortlist of 24-30 players and this time, like two other times before, Sunil Chhetri finds his name in the list.
The 34-year-old has been nominated for the third consecutive time, and his name is alongside some of the biggest names in Asia at the moment like, Tottenham Hotspur player and three-time winner, Son Heung Min, Takumi Minamino who had a good season with Salzburg, Al Hilal’s Bafetimbi Gomis and as many as three players from Qatar.
It’s been a year where Chhetri added several feathers to his cap yet again. In June, he overtook Indian Football legend and mentor, Bhaichung Bhutia as the most capped player for India. Bhutia has represented India in 107 games. The Bengaluru FC captain is still going strong with 115 appearances so far for the country.
He also received the fourth highest civilian award in India, the Padma Shri. He is the sixth footballer to receive the award. With 72 international goals, and the highest ever goal scorer for India, fifth highest goal scorer from Asia and the second-highest active goal scorer behind Cristiano Ronaldo, it not surprising he’s picking up awards at the same rate that he is scoring goals.
When the Indian captain was nominated in 2017, he was ranked 25th in a list of 27. In 2018, he climbed four places to 21st in a list of 33, surpassing former Barcelona player, Andres Iniesta and Brazilian Paulinho.
The winners of this edition will be announced early next year.