Captain, Leader, Legend: Sunil Chhetri becomes the first footballer to win Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award

The face of Indian Football and heartbeat of millions, Sunil Chhetri was conferred with Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award on Tuesday, 2nd November.

The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports had announced the winners of National Sports Awards 2021 on the digital platforms. The recipients will now be invited to a special ceremony at the Darbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan on Saturday, 13 November 2021.

He became the first football player to receive this prestigious award. Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna is the highest sporting honour of the country. It is awarded to sports persons who have displayed “spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports over a period of four years” at the international level.

Sunil Chhetri is currently the joint second-highest active goalscorer in International football along with one of the greatest footballers of all time, Lionel Messi. The 37-year-old has scored 80 goals in 125 appearances for the national team so far. In addition, he is the joint fifth-highest International goalscorer of all time.

Sunil’s contribution to Indian Football, not just on the field but off the field, has been immense. He has inspired so many youngsters to take up the sport, and nurtured up-and-comers to hone their skills.

AIFF and all the other aggregators of Indian Football congratulated Sunil Chhetri on this much deserved recognition.

Here’s the list of all 12 Khel Ratna Awardees of 2021 -

Neeraj Chopra (Athletics)

Ravi Dahiya (Wrestling)

PR Sreejesh (Hockey)

Lovlina Borgohain (Boxing)

Sunil Chhetri (Football)

Mithali Raj (Cricket)

Pramod Bhagat (Para-Badminton)

Sumit Antil (Para-Javelin)

Avani Lekhara (Para-Shooting)

Krishna Nagar (Para-Badminton)

M Narwal (Para-Shooting)

Manpreet Singh (Hockey)

Hero Indian Super League extends a heartfelt congratulations to all the winners and wishes them more success in future.

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