Sunday, June 16, 2024

“June 6 I Retire, June 7 I Will Cry A Lot”: Sunil Chhetri On International Retirement

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After taking the footballing world by surprise with the news of his retirement, ace India marksman Sunil Chhetri mapped out his retirement plans saying he wanted to leave behind a legacy as a good-looking and hard-working player. The India captain on Thursday said he would don the national jersey one last time in an international fixture against Kuwait on June 6. The match will provide him one last opportunity to play in front of his adoring home fans at the Salt Lake Stadium before he brings the curtains down on a 19-year-long career.

Talking about the legacy that he will leave behind, Chhetri said he wants people to remember him as a hard-working and good-looking player.

“I never paid any heed, I think about the legacy the one thing that I will always remember is to work hard most good-looking player. A very good-looking and hard-working player. One legacy and when they remember me, they should think I was hard working player. That’s one thing, I want to leave behind me, is a hard-working player and a good-looking person,” Chhetri said in a media interaction.

The 39-year-old underlined that it wasn’t easy for him to take the decision but he is at peace with it. He said it was a difficult decision over the last few months that the forthcoming game would be his last for the country.

“I think it took quite a while i was fighting within me I was trying to think more holistically, when the instinct came it was so narrow, I was taking time, it wasn’t easy, but I am at peace with my decision, got more than what I had dreamt of” he added.

Chhetri mapped out his after-retirement plans and said after leaving the national side on June 6 he will spend a lot of time with his family.

“On June 6 is when I retire. On June 7 I will spend a lot of time crying while on the 8th I will relax, after June 8 I will take a break and I will stay with my family,” he added.

Earlier while announcing his retirement, Chhetri reminisced the first time he was called up to represent the national side.

“There is one day that I never forget and remember it quite often is the first time I played for my countryman, it was unbelievable. But the day before, the morning of the day, Sukhi sir, my first national team coach, in the morning he came to me and he’s like, you’re going to start? I can’t tell you how I was feeling man. I took my jersey, I sprayed some perfume on it, I have no idea why. So that day, everything that happened, once he told me, from breakfast to lunch and to the game and to my first goal in my debut, to conceding late 80th minute, that day is probably that I will never forget and is one of the best days of my national team journey,” Chhetri said in a lengthy social media post.

Chhetri kicked off his professional football journey at Mohun Bagan in 2002. Chhetri helped India win the 2007, 2009, and 2012 Nehru Cup, as well as the 2011, 2015, 2021 and 2023 SAFF Championship. He also led India to victory in the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup, which helped India qualify for its first AFC Asian Cup in 27 years.

The Indian captain received the Arjuna Award in 2011, and the Padma Shri in 2019. In 2021, he became the first footballer to get the Khel Ratna Award, India’s highest sporting honour.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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