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Sunil Chhetri: India's Football Icon Bids Farewell to International Arena

The Legacy of Sunil Chhetri Inspiring Generations

By Subrat KumarPublished about a month ago 2 min read
Sunil Chhetri: India's Football Icon Bids Farewell to International Arena
Photo by Daniel Norin on Unsplash

Sunil Chhetri: India's Football Icon Bids Farewell to International Arena

Sunil Chhetri, the heart and soul of Indian football, has announced his retirement from international football. After a remarkable 19-year journey, Chhetri will bid adieu to the field after India's World Cup qualification match against Kuwait on June 6.

In a heartfelt video message, the 39-year-old captain urged his team to secure a victory in his final game. "One last game... for all our sakes...let's win the game and we can depart, happily," he said.

Chhetri made his debut for the Indian national team in 2005, and since then, he has been a beacon of hope and inspiration for football enthusiasts across the country. His journey has been filled with countless highs and lows, but through it all, he has remained dedicated to the sport he loves.

With his decision to retire, Chhetri leaves behind a legacy that has helped elevate Indian football to new heights. He is not just a player; he is a symbol of resilience, determination, and passion.

Often referred to as the "Indian Messi" or the "Ronaldo of India," Chhetri's name is etched in the record books as the third-highest scorer of international goals among active footballers, behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

In his farewell video, Chhetri reflected on the journey that brought him to this moment. He spoke of the challenges he faced and the sacrifices he made along the way. "The kid inside will probably keep fighting to play football, but the sensible, mature player and person knows that this is it," he said.

Tributes have been pouring in from fans and fellow players alike, expressing gratitude for Chhetri's unparalleled contribution to Indian football. "End of an era," one fan said. "Sunil Chhetri - captain, leader, legend - announces retirement."

Chhetri's longevity in the sport, coupled with his unmatched work ethic, has been instrumental in his success. His dedication to fitness, strict diet, and relentless training regimen have set him apart on both national and international stages.

In India, he has been honored with several prestigious awards, including the Arjuna Award and the Padma Shri. On the global stage, he has led the Indian team to victory in various tournaments, including the AFC Challenge Cup, the South Asian Football Federation Championship, and the Intercontinental Cup.

Chhetri's commitment to his craft extends beyond the field. In a previous interview with the BBC, he spoke about the "small sacrifices" he makes to maintain his fitness. "It's all about what I eat and how much I sleep," he said. "For the kind of good life that I have got by God's grace, it's not a big deal to go for the broccolis rather than the biryani - as I know there will be enough time for such indulgences once I am done with the game."

Now, as Chhetri hangs up his boots, the question on everyone's mind is, "After Chhetri, who?" His departure leaves a void in Indian football that will be difficult to fill. But his legacy will continue to inspire generations of players to come, reminding them that with hard work, dedication, and a never-say-die attitude, anything is possible.

As India bids farewell to its football icon, Sunil Chhetri's name will forever be synonymous with passion, perseverance, and the beautiful game.

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Subrat Kumar

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    Subrat KumarWritten by Subrat Kumar

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