Former ISL champions Bengaluru FC have tied down their captain Sunil Chhetri to a two-year extension, the club announced on Sunday. The 36-year-old had first penned a contract with the JSW-owned club in 2013.
Apart from a brief stint with Mumbai City FC in 2015 and 16, Chhetri has not played for any other club in the last eight years. He is set to become the only player from Bengaluru FC's inaugural season to feature in their roster for the next ISL.
Sunil Chhetri sounded ecstatic after signing another extension with Bengaluru FC. After completing the formalities, the captain of the Indian Football Team said:
"I am happy to have signed on for two more years at Bengaluru FC. The city is home now, and the people at this club are like family to me. It feels like just yesterday that I signed for the first time here, and I have to say the journey has been nothing sort of special."
Bengaluru FC CEO Mandar Tamhane understands the importance of having the third-highest active international goalscorer in his ranks. Speaking on the signing, Tamhane said:
"Sunil (Chhetri) has been an integral part of this club since day one. We all know what he, as a player, brings to the team. But his presence as a leader has been equally crucial to us, and especially to the youngsters coming through the ranks."
What's next for Bengaluru FC?
Bengaluru FC will return to the football field sooner than other ISL clubs, squaring off against Maldives' Eagles FC on the 15th of August in the 2021 AFC Cup play-off round. If they win the match, they will join ATK Mohun Bagan, Basundhara Kings, and Maziya SC in Group D of the 2021 AFC Cup.
Rahul Bheke, Dimas Delgado, and Harmanjot Khabra have officially parted ways with Bengaluru FC. It remains to be seen which players get signed up by the club as their replacements.