Sunil Chhetri Announces Retirement from International Football

India’s football icon, Sunil Chhetri, declared on Thursday his decision to retire from international football following the FIFA World Cup qualification match against Kuwait on June 6. Sharing the news via a heartfelt video on his social media platforms, the national team captain reflected on his illustrious journey spanning 150 matches and 94 goals over nearly two decades.

Chhetri’s retirement announcement carries added significance as he will bid adieu to international football in the city where his top-flight career began, Mohun Bagan. Rising from these roots, Chhetri evolved into one of India’s most influential footballers, securing the distinction of the country’s most-capped player and ranking fourth in the all-time international goals list, trailing only Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Ali Daei.

Accolades have adorned Chhetri’s career, including the prestigious Padma Shri in 2019 and the Khel Ratna Award in 2021, underscoring his indelible impact on Indian football. Reflecting on his journey, Chhetri recalled poignant moments, such as his national team debut under Sukhi sir’s guidance, marking a milestone etched in his memory.

Known for his unparalleled goal-scoring prowess and unwavering fitness, Chhetri emerged as the torchbearer of Indian football. Expressing his sentiments on retirement, he shared the blend of duty, pressure, and joy experienced throughout his career, culminating in the realization that the upcoming match would mark his swansong.

Amidst a flood of emotions, Chhetri revealed the surreal experience of reminiscing over his nearly 20-year journey upon deciding to retire, prompting tears from his family upon hearing the news. As he prepares to hang up his boots, Chhetri leaves behind a legacy that transcends statistics, embodying the spirit and passion that define the beautiful game.

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