Sunil Chhetri (left) and Loitongbam Ashalata Devi won the coveted AIFF awards Credit: File Image

Guwahati: Sunil Chhetri and Loitongbam Ashalata Devi have won the men’s and women’s footballer of the year award 2018-19 respectively, announced by All India Football Federation (AIFF), on Tuesday.

Chhetri stands second as the highest active international goal scorer with 70 strikes next to Cristiano Ronaldo at 149. He surpassed Argentinian football legend Lionel Messi (68) on July 7 at the opening match of the Intercontinental Cup 2019 against Tajikistan, to bag the runner-up spot.

The 34-year-old Bengaluru FC player and Indian skipper earlier won the honour in 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2017.

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Chhetri said he draws inspiration from six times world champion and ace boxer MC Mary Kom.

Sunil Chettri recently surpassed Argentine striker Lionel Messi to become the second highest active goal scorer

Also, Manipur’s Dangmei Grace was announced as the emerging player of the year in the women’s category, and Sahal Abdul Samad was chosen in the men’s category.

Receiving the award, Grace said, “When I heard the news I was so surprised!”

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