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Sunil Chhetri to Retire from International Football After WC Qualifier Against Kuwait

Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri announced on Thursday that he will draw the curtain on his international career after the country's FIFA World Cup qualification match against Kuwait, scheduled for June 6.

The 39-year-old striker revealed his decision by sharing a video on his social media accounts.

"There is one day that I never forget and remember it quite often is the first time I played for my country man, it was unbelievable. But the day before, the morning of the day, Sukhi sir, my first national team coach, in the morning he came to me and he’s like, you’re going to start? I can’t tell you how I was feeling man. I took my jersey, I sprayed some perfume on it, I have no idea why. So that day, everything that happened, once he told me, from breakfast to lunch and to the game and to my first goal in my debut, to conceding late 80th minute, that day is probably that I will never forget and is one of the best days of my national team journey," Chhetri said in a video.

"The feeling I recollected in the last 19 years is a very nice combination of duty, pressure and immense joy. I never thought, individually, these are the many games I have played for the country, this is what I have; good or bad, but now I dit it. This last one and half or two months I did it... because probably I was towards the decision that this game will be my last.

"And the moment I told myself first, that yes, this is the game that is going to be my last, is when I started recollecting everything. It was so strange, I started thinking about this game, that game, this coach, that coach, that team, that member, that ground, that away match, this good game, that bad game, all my individual performances, everything came, all the flashes came. So when I did decide that this is it, this is going to be my last game, I told my mom, my dad and my wife, my family first, my dad.

"My dad was my dad, he was normal, he was relieved, happy, everything, but my mom and my wife straightly started crying and I told them, you always used to bug me that there are too many games, there is too much of pressure when you watch me and now that I’m telling you that, you know, I’m not going to play for my country anymore after this game.

"And even they couldn’t, they couldn’t express to me as to why they, they burst into tears. It’s not that I was feeling tired, it’s not that I was feeling this or that, when the instinct came that this should be my last game, then I thought about it a lot and eventually I came to this decision," said Chhetri.

The striker made his international debut against Pakistan on June 12, 2005. He has been part of the title-winning Indian teams in the AFC Challenge Cup in 2008, the SAFF Championship in 2011 and 2015, the Nehru Cup in 2007, 2009 and 2012, as well as the Intercontinental Cup in 2017 and 2018.

Moreover, Chhetri is the third in the list of most international goals with 94 in 150 matches behind Argentine star Lionel Messi (106 in 180 matches) and Portugal great Cristiano Ronaldo (128 in 205 matches).

*Except for the heading, this story has not been edited by The enewstime.in and has been published from IANS feed.

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