Football icon Sunil Chhetri announces retirement

Sunil Chhetri, the legendary Indian footballer, has announced his retirement from international football after the FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Kuwait on June 6.

| Updated: 16 May, 2024 12:58 pm IST

NEW DELHI: Sunil Chhetri, the legendary Indian footballer, has announced his retirement from international football after the FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Kuwait on June 6. Chhetri, who has been the captain of the Indian national team for a long time, shared the news through a video on his social media accounts. He expressed mixed feelings about his decision, citing a combination of duty, pressure, and joy throughout his two-decade career. Chhetri, who began playing for the national team in 2005, has been a key figure in Indian football for almost twenty years.

In his announcement, Chhetri reflected on his journey, emphasizing the importance of enjoying every moment, especially in his final matches. Despite the pressure of the upcoming crucial game against Kuwait, which could determine India’s qualification for the next round, Chhetri stated that he doesn’t feel the usual pressure as he knows it will be his last match.

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The decision to retire came after much contemplation for Chhetri, who admitted feeling a sense of sadness and nostalgia. His family, including his mother and wife, became emotional upon learning about his retirement from international football. Some prominent personalities shared their thoughts on social media in response to Sunil Chhetri’s announcement.

Chhetri’s illustrious career includes 150 appearances for India, where he scored a remarkable 94 goals. This makes him India’s all-time leading goal scorer and the most-capped player in the country’s football history. Despite the disappointment of his final match against Afghanistan, where India lost 1-2 despite Chhetri’s goal, his legacy as one of India’s greatest footballers remains intact.

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He has received multiple football awards in India, including the Padma Shri, the nation’s fourth-highest civilian honor, and the Arjuna Award, which is the nation’s second-highest sporting honor. With this decision, Chhetri joins the ranks of football legends like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, leaving behind a legacy that will be remembered for years to come.

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