Regret not playing with Sunil Chhetri: IM Vijayan

IM Vijayan
IM Vijayan's career ended right before Sunil Chhetri's rise
Mohak Arora

Former Indian men's football captain IM Vijayan, in a freewheeling chat with Sportskeeda, revealed his regret was missing out on playing with current incumbent Sunil Chhetri.

Nicknamed Kalo Hiran, the striker scored 29 goals in 66 international matches playing alongside one of the best forwards in Indian football history, Bhaichung Bhutia.

Talking about playing with Bhutia, the 51-year old said, "Bhaichung is like a younger brother to me, he respects me a lot. When I was at Mohun Bagan, he came there as a young kid and we played together for one year, and then for India till I retired. We shared a very special relation, we still talk on the phone a lot."

Regret not playing with Sunil Chhetri

Despite playing with Bhaichung Bhutia, IM Vijayan retired just before Sunil Chhetri's international debut, and cites not playing with the Bengaluru FC star as one of his biggest regrets.

"I have one regret: I always wish I'd played with Sunil Chhetri, and I discussed this with him as well. We don't know when will we see such a consistent player playing for India again. He is still the top-scoring Indian in the Indian Super League, after so many years. He is very professional, and that's why I admire him a lot. He respects me despite being such a big star."

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When asked to choose between Bhaichung Bhutia and Sunil Chhetri, IM Vijayan said, "Both are fantastic players, and their styles of play are very different. Like you cannot compare (Lionel) Messi and (Cristiano) Ronaldo, you can't compare Bhaichung Bhutia and Sunil Chhetri. The former is a fox in the box, he can score any type of goal from inside the penalty box. On the other hand, Sunil Chhetri is a hard worker and is ranked second in international goals. They are two of the best players to have ever played for India."

Edited by Ravi Iyer
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