NEW DELHI: Former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia on Tuesday likened Sunil Chhetri to Poland's Robert Lewandowski, and he also said that time has come for the Blue Tigers to deliver as a team, and not just be dependent on one player.
"Very similar example of Robert Lewandowski to Sunil Chhetri. A player with great quality can win you one match, but if you want to win Euro, then you need to have a great team. It is going to be a big tournament, matches after matches. You need players to replace any injured player in that position, you need to have a strong 26-member squad to win you the Euro. You will have individual stars who may be making a difference in one-two matches, but I do not think, it is going to take the team forward," said Bhutia during a virtual press conference facilitated by host broadcaster Sony.
"For Poland, you have one of the best strikers in the world, he is going to have a limited opportunity to go forward with his team. This is a similar case with India as well, that is why we have not been able to do much as a national team. There have been times when Sunil has won you the matches almost single-handedly, like yesterday against Bangladesh. I thought apart from those two goals by Sunil, we had nothing to talk about," he added.
The former India skipper will be one of the panelists on Sony Sports Network for Euro 2020. Further talking about the Blue Tigers, Bhutia said: "It was only Sunil and the two goals that he scored. We really need to start delivering as a team."
Chhetri had added another feather to his illustrious cap as he overtook Argentina star Lionel Messi to become the second-highest active international goalscorer on Monday. He achieved the feat when he struck a brace to help India defeat Bangladesh 2-0 in the ongoing FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, and AFC Asian Cup China Qualifiers at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium at Al Sadd Club in Doha.
The 36-year-old Chhetri scored both his goals in the second half of the match as he netted the ball into the goalpost in the 79th and 92nd minutes. Chhetri has now scored 74 goals, two more than Messi, and is only behind Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo (103) in the list of active footballers with the most international goals. Ali Mabkhout is third on the list having scored 73 goals.
India will next lock horns against Afghanistan in the Qualifiers on June 15. The side is already out of contention to qualify for FIFA World Cup 2022, but the Blue Tigers can still qualify for AFC Asian Cup.