A beautiful dream will come to an end on June 6, says Sunil Chhetri

BHUBANESWAR: The journey that began in 2006 in the faraway city of Quetta in Pakistan, will finally come to an end in Kolkata on June 6, 2024, after an eventful 19 years.

Sunil Chhetri, the conquering hero of Indian football’s many folklores, has decided to gently put aside his National Team jersey after playing against Kuwait in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.

On Thursday, May 16, 2024, the National Team captain spoke to AIFF about his latest decision.


Q: How did you reach this decision?

Sunil Chhetri: It’s been a month. It started with a feeling and an instinct that it was time to call it a day. And it grew in me slowly and steadily every day. Finally, I reached this decision. And I think I made the right decision. This (match against Kuwait on June 6, 2024) is one of the biggest games of my career. It is hugely important for the National Team. So, hopefully, we will do well against Kuwait and should be there for the (World Cup Qualifiers) third round.

Q: Could qualifying for the third round be the best possible way for you to hang up your boots? And you said there’s no pressure on you, but how badly do you want to win this game?

SC: Yeah, but for my own sake, for my own satisfaction, that thing will be a secondary part of the equation. The first thing is to test for the country, man…we’ve got to because this is in our hands, now. We got to win at home to give us a great chance of qualifying for the third round, which we haven’t done yet. And then rub our shoulders with the best in Asia. So, for the country’s sake first, yes. And once we do that, it will be good to think back and remember that my last game was an important one. And I could contribute to our nation being in the third round of the World Cup Qualifiers.

Q: Why did you choose to retire after the June 6 match and not the June 11 tie against Qatar? Because, you know, that could be the match after which we officially qualify for the third round.

SC: Yeah, but then, let’s say it was just an instinct. We’re playing at home, that’s in Salt Lake. It will not be the same. And I’m pretty confident this way or that way. Even if you need some points against Qatar, our team is quite capable. I think my team is ready. So, everything combined to make me decide that June 6 is my last game for the country.

Q: If you could sum up your 19-year legacy as a national team player, briefly.

SC: It’s outstanding. It’s a dream. I don’t know where to start. But the synopsis is that it’s a beautiful dream. I think I’m highly, highly fortunate and privileged to be a part of the national team for 19 years. It’s outstanding to be able to participate and play for the country. This is something no one can take away from me. I’m grateful to everyone who has contributed. And I’m not trying to sound cliche, I genuinely mean it. That’s the feeling that I get.

Q: Personally, what does this decision mean for you, your family and your life?

SC: It was a mixed feeling.But when I did tell them, everyone understood. I believe my entire family is proud of whatever I have accomplished. I’ve done this for 19 years. They are immensely happy. I think it’s one of those things that everyone knew was coming. But when I told them, they were a little bit shocked but understood that I’m fighting my own battles inside. You don’t wish to stop playing for the country. But one day you have to and you will be fine.

Also Read: RFDL is the ultimate scouting platform – Thangboi Singto, Hyderabad FC Head Coach

Also Read: Punjab FC, East Bengal FC to lock horns in Reliance Foundation Development League 2023 – 24 final after emerging triumphant in semis

Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for all the latest happenings in the world of Indian Football.

SSE BFC to conduct trials for U9 to U17 age group players

SSE BFC Soccer School will be conducting fresh trials this month for players aged below 17 to be part of their football program SSE BFC Soccer Schools is a football…


India Khelo Football Season 3 Trials for Mumbai and Thane are here

India Khelo Football (IKF) is back with Season 3 of its widely acclaimed trials with an aim to cover more than 50 cities this time around. After the resounding success…


Mastering the Art of Football Trials: Key Pre-Trial Factors to Keep in Mind

Football trials are a critical juncture for aspiring players to showcase their skills and secure a spot in a team. To maximize your chances of success, it’s essential to tailor your approach based on your playing position as well as keeping in mind a few pre-trial factors.


Somaiya Sports Academy to conduct trials for MFA 2nd Division campaign

Somaiya Sports Academy is looking for passionate young football players for the Somaiya Sports Academy Football Team to compete in the MFA 2nd Division League 2023-2024. If selected, you will…


BFC Soccer Schools – Mumbai to conduct trials for U14 & U16 Girls

The BFC Soccer Schools Elite team girls’ trials are coming up in search of talented players from the U14 to U16 (Born 2009 and after) age groups into the club’s…


Opportunity to make the team: U.K.M. Kothrud FC conducts selection trials for girls team

Pune-based U.K.M. Kothrud FC has announced that they will be conducting selection trials for their girl’s team on 15th January 2023 The club welcomes all players to come and showcase…


The Sunday Football League Season 4 is back

The Sunday Football League is back with its fourth season, and it’s shaping up to be the best one yet. With eight talented teams competing at the Kes Kandivali turf, there…


BFC Soccer Schools Elite team trials in Feb

Bengaluru FC launched their Mumbai program last season with the Soccer Schools and Elite programs with its local partner Soccer Schools of Excellence (SSE).  Bengaluru Football Club is a professional club…


India Khelo Football Season 2 Trials in Mumbai: A Chance to Kickstart Your Football Career

After conducting trials in 34 cities & villages across India, India Khelo Football is coming to Mumbai to hunt talent on 7th January. India Khelo Football kickstarted its season 2…


Mumbai Customs to conduct trials for Elite League

Former champions Mumbai Customs will be holding open trials for the upcoming MFA Elite Corporate League (Elite Division) The 2019 MFA Elite Division champions Mumbai Customs are conducting open trials…