Football legend Sunil Chhetri to retire after India’s match against Kuwait on June 6

Since making his debut in 2005, Sunil Chhetri has netted 94 goals for his nation.

The skipper of the Indian national football team and one of the greatest strikers of all time, Sunil Chhetri announced his retirement from international football after the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers match against Kuwait in Kolkata on June 6, bringing an end to a remarkable two-decade career.

The ‘Captain Leader Legend’ revealed his decision in a video published on his social media platforms. India is presently second in Group A, with four points, trailing Qatar.

In the video, the 39-year-old Sunil Chhetri said, “The feel that I recollect in the last 19 years is a very nice combination of duty, pressure and immense joy. I never thought individually these are the games I’ve played for the country, this is what I’ve done good, I’ve done bad. But, now I did it, this last one-and-a-half two months. It felt very strange. I did it because I was going towards the decision that the next game was going to be my last.”

While Chhetri’s track record at clubs is impressive, his accomplishments on a global scale truly set him apart. He has been a major factor in India’s victories in the SAFF Championship in 2011, 2015, 2021, and 2023. He has also helped India win the Nehru Cup in 2007, 2009, and 2012. Most famously, the Padma Shri awardee was part of India’s 2008 AFC Challenge Cup victory, which made it possible for India to advance to their first AFC Asian Cup in 27 years.

In March 2024, Chhetri made his 150th appearance for India, scoring in a game against Afghanistan at Guwahati. However, India lost that match 1-2.

Since making his debut in 2005, the face of Indian football has netted 94 goals for his nation. The seven-time All India Football Federation (AIFF) Player of the Year will depart the game as the all-time leading scorer and most-capped player in Indian history. In terms of goals scored among active players, he is ranked third, after Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

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