DOHA: India's Sunil Chhetri on Wednesday (Jun 9) said that comparisons with Lionel Messi are misplaced after surpassing his tally of international goals, and added that he remains a huge fan of the Argentine star.
Chhetri overtook Messi's total of 72 international goals in India's 2-0 win over Bangladesh on Monday to stand behind top-ranked Cristiano Ronaldo - who has scored 103 - among active players.
"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 goalscorer charts), 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."
Chhetri, 36, scored both goals in India's victory in the qualifying match for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup.
With 73 strikes, Ali Mabkhout of the United Arab Emirates is also above Messi - a six-time Ballon d'Or winner widely regarded as the greatest player of the modern era.
India, who are ranked 105th in the FIFA team rankings, are already out of the race to qualify for the World Cup, but can still make it to the Asian Cup in China.