#2 Sunil Chhetri playing for Sporting Lisbon
Even though some percentage of the title is click bait, Sunil Chhetri, however, did play in the Sporting Lisbon side but in the reserve team (Sporting Lisbon B) which competed in the second division- Liga de Honra.
Sporting Lisbon which has witnessed the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Figo playing for them, signed Chhetri in 2012 on a reported 1-year-contract giving him the chance to train with the Portuguese side. It was the time when India was ranked 163 in the FIFA rankings and there was a vast difference in the quality of play between India and Portugal who were ranked 5th back then. At 28, Sunil failed to prove his mettle and could manage only 3 appearances for the team before ending his contract a year later.
However, this wasn’t Sunil’s first stint outside of India as he had also played for Major League Soccer side Kansas City. Sunil also became the first player from India and the third from the subcontinent to make a move overseas at that point in time.
He also featured in a friendly against Premier League side Manchester United where he was subbed on at the 69th minute of the game. Unfortunately, even there Sunil was handed disappointment as he couldn’t manage to play even a single game for the team in the league and had left the club a few months later.
In his illustrious career, Sunil has also had interests from sides like Celtic, Leeds United and QPR but none could be converted for some reason or the other.
To break into this level of football at that point in time was a next-to-impossible task and it only goes to show what a legend of the game he has been for India. Sunil had recently quoted in one of his interviews that he could have made a mark overseas if he had age by his side.Published 09 Jan 2019, 20:30 IST