July 20, 2024
Chicago 12, Melborne City, USA
Football Sports

Sunil Chhetri Retires from Indian Football Team

Sunil Chhetri

Sunil Chhetri, the legendary Indian footballer, announced his retirement from the Indian national football team on Thursday. The 38-year-old striker revealed that his final game in the national colors would be against Kuwait, part of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, scheduled to be played at the Salt Lake Stadium on June 6. Chhetri shared this news via a video posted on his social media handles, explaining his decision and reflecting on his illustrious career.

In the emotional video, Chhetri recounted how he broke the news to his family. While his father was relieved and happy, his wife had a more emotional reaction, despite having previously expressed concerns over the pressures and demands of his career. Chhetri explained that the decision to retire wasn’t due to physical exhaustion or any specific reason, but rather an instinctual feeling that it was time to step away. He admitted to feeling a deep sense of sadness and nostalgia, expressing how the “kid inside him” never wanted to stop playing for his country, but the mature part of him knew it was the right time.

Sunil Chhetri emphasized the joy and pride he felt representing India, describing it as living a dream. He acknowledged the pressure of the upcoming match against Kuwait, crucial for India’s qualification to the third round of the World Cup qualifiers, but noted that in a strange way, he no longer felt that pressure. Instead, he planned to savor every remaining moment of training and playing with the national team.

Chhetri’s career has been remarkable. He made his debut for India in 2005 and has since scored 94 goals in 150 appearances, making him India’s all-time top scorer and most-capped player. Among active international goal scorers, he ranks third, behind only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. His contributions to Indian football have been immense, and his retirement announcement has triggered an outpouring of emotions on social media. Fans, fellow athletes, and prominent figures have flooded platforms with messages of gratitude and admiration.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) posted a heartfelt tribute, celebrating Sunil Chhetri not just as a football icon but as a sports legend. Indian cricket star Virat Kohli, a close friend of Chhetri, expressed his pride and support in a touching Instagram comment. India’s starting goalkeeper, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, also reacted to the announcement, expressing his wish to change Chhetri’s mind while understanding and respecting his decision.

Sanjiv Goenka, chairman of Mohun Bagan Super Giants, praised Chhetri’s contributions to the sport and wished him well in his future endeavors. The hashtag “#HappyRetirementLegend” has captured the collective sentiment of a nation grateful for Chhetri’s dedication and achievements, celebrating the legacy of a true footballing great.

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