India Men's Senior National Football Team captain Sunil Chhetri received the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award by President Ram Nath Kovind on November 13. The Indian footballer is undoubtedly one of the greatest in the country as with 80 goals, he is currently tied with six-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi for second place in the international goalscorers list among active footballers.
On having his name included in the list of Khel Ratna awardees, Chhetri explained how life had been nothing short of a dream for him.
Sunil Chhetri was one among the 12 sportspeople who were awarded the Khel Ratna by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. Moreover, he also became the first Indian footballer to receive the country's highest sporting achievements. All awards were given by President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi.
President Ram Nath Kovind confers Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award 2021 on Pramod Bhagat (para-badminton), Mithali Raj (cricket), Sunil Chhetri (football), and Manpreet Singh (hockey) in New Delhi pic.twitter.com/VvabvEtep9— ANI (@ANI) November 13, 2021
According to the All India Football Federation (AIFF), Sunil Chhetri said, "I am thrilled, I am really thankful and honoured. I have always said that it is a dream that I have gone through, and it would not have been possible without my family, my friends, my wife, my close group, the teammates that I have had and the coaches that I have played under. They have all played an important part in who I am today. It has been amazing to play for the National Team, for so many years, for the number of matches, it has been an outstanding journey."
Neeraj Chopra (Javelin)
Ravi Dahiya (Wrestling)
Sunil Chhetri (Football)
Mithali Raj (Cricket)
P Sreejesh (Hockey)
Lovlina Borgohain (Boxing)
Pramod Bhagat (Para-badminton player)
Avani Lekhara (Para rifle shooter)
Sumit Antil (Para javelin thrower)
Krishna Nagar (Para-badminton)
Manish Narwal (Para pistol shooter)
Manpreet Singh (Hockey)