"At a point of time, retirement comes calling," says Sunil Chhetri's father Kharga Chhetri ahead of son's last international game

Sunil Chhetri FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Kuwait Indian football team
Sunil Chhetri (Image Courtesy: AIFF)

May 30, 2024. The Indian football team's training session had seen 15 minutes of intense warm-up and head coach Igor Stimac gave the players a small water break to get them prepared for the upcoming drills. While everybody assembled near the sidelines to quench their thirst, Sunil Chhetri was seen on the other side of the pitch, caressing a ball firmly with his feet and aiming long-rangers towards an empty net.

Chhetri, the Indian football team skipper, is all set to play his last international fixture on June 6, against Kuwait, in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. He was certainly emotional while announcing his retirement in a video last month, but his parents are more emotional, as their son prepares to take the stage one last time.

In a recent video shared by ISL Media on their YouTube channel, Chhetri's parents Kharga Chhetri and Sushila Chhetri shared a small message to their 'kid'.

"It wasn't like you could continue playing international football permanently," Kharga Chhetri said. "The physical ability doesn't stay forever. At a point of time, retirement comes calling. We had a 20-30% indication of the fact that you'd retire so suddenly. But the rest of the 70% was a shock to us. But whatever happened, we are very happy.
"We are so proud of you. I think it is the best time for you to retire. You are at the peak of your career. You have won a lot of awards and accolades. You have received so much love from the fans. God bless you, my son."

Sunil Chhetri's mother Sushila Chhetri also had a few words to share, albeit from his childhood.

"He told me first that he wanted to leave Army Public School. I asked 'why?'. He said, 'I want to play with a better football team'. I told his father about the same. He couldn't believe it at first. We sat down for a chat with him and he told us, 'I want to play football and study at the same time. I won't give you a chance to be disappointed. Please let me do this.' So then we were convinced and allowed him to swap schools," Sushila Chhetri said.

Sunil Chhetri will continue club football

Although the India skipper will retire from international football, Sunil Chhetri will continue to ply his trade at the domestic level.

In the 2023-24 season, Chhetri led Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) and even scored five goals and provided three assists in 20 appearances. However, despite his efforts, the Blues were not able to register a place in the playoffs and ended their campaign in the 10th position.

Sunil Chhetri, meanwhile, is the highest Indian goal-scorer in the ISL with 60 goals and will aim to surpass the league's top-scorer Bartholomew Ogbeche (63 goals) in the upcoming campaign.

Quick Links

App download animated image Get the free App now