Sunil Chhetri- the front face of Indian football, the striker from Secundrabad we all know and love. The skipper of Bengaluru FC and the national team. India’s all time leading goalscorer, and only the second highest in the world after Cristiano Ronaldo. Honoured with the Pama Shri award in 2019. However, one achievement he will always cherish, and that is his beloved wife Sonam Bhattacharya, daughter of the one and only Subrata Bhattacharya.
Starting his senior career at Mohun Bagan in 2002, Sunil played under Subrata Bhattacharya, the club hall of fame who was at the helm of the Mariners at that time. During his time there, Sunil caught the attention of Sonam, and the two ended up marrying after dating for 13 years.
Speaking to the social media community Humans of Bombay, the 35 year old shared his love life, and how he tied knots with his former gaffer’s daughter.
“Her father was my coach, and he used to always specially mention this guy called ‘Chhetri’ to her. I was 18, and she was only 15. She was really curious about me so she stole my number for her dad’s phone and texted me saying, ‘Hi! I’m Sonam and I’m a big fan, I want to meet you.”
Sunil married Sonam in the month of December in 2017, after more than a decade of commitment- which started off just with a text message.
“That went on for two months, and then one day my coach’s phone stopped working — so he gave it to me to fix. While I was fixing it, the coach’s daughter called and her number looked familiar to me. That’s when I realised that it was Sonam’s number! I was so livid.”
Although having butterflies in his stomach, Sunil was genuinely scared to continue forward with his own feelings, as he felt such a daring job of dating your coach’s daughter may end up being detrimental to his career.
However, they started dating, and both continued to hold onto their feelings. While Chhetri went on to win three Nehru Cups, four I-leagues, the Arjuna award in 2011 and six AIFF Player of the Year awards, and numerous other honours and silverware, his bonding with Sonam grew stronger with the flow if time, and two years back he decided to make the decision.
“When we sat down, her dad started talking about everything under the sun. Until I finally mustered the courage and told him, ‘Sir, I love your daughter and I believe she loves me too’. He just said, ‘Ya, ya it’s okay’ and went to the bathroom. Finally when he came out, he gave his nod of approval! And in a few months, we got married.”
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