Sunil Chhetri, the all-time leading scorer for India in international football, says he is always there to help develop the sport in the national capital, where he was brought up. Also Read - Football: Former India And Mohun Bagan Player Manitombi Singh Dies
The 34-year-old Padma Shri was Friday conferred the first ever Football Ratna honour by Football Delhi, the association governing the sport in the city. Also Read - Hosting U-17 World Cup Can Transform Women's Football in India: FIFA Official
“I am honoured by the kind gesture of Football Delhi and recognising me with the Football Ratna award. My support will always be there for the development of football in Delhi and I am sure the current management is working hard to develop football in Delhi and make Delhi a model football state in India,” Chhetri said. Also Read - Delhi Could Field Two Teams From Next I-League Season, Says AIFF President Praful Patel
Football Delhi president Shaji Prabhakaran, himself a former player of repute and administrator at the All India Football Federation and FIFA, presented the award to Chhetri.
“We are inspired by the spectacular achievements of Sunil. His professionalism, dedication, discipline, and passion, on and off the field, is an example not only for the football fraternity but also for every Indian to dream big and achieve something spectacular in life,” Prabhakaran said.
“It is a great honour for us to confer the first ever Football Ratna to Sunil Chhetri and we express our gratitude and thanks to Sunil for his time and inspiration to develop football in Delhi.”
On the occasion, Football Delhi also honoured Shubham Sarangi, youth player from Delhi who is currently the player of Delhi Dynamos squad for ISL. Shubham was part of AIFF Youth Academy since the age of 12 years and represented India in U-14 and U-17 youth national teams.