“The match against Kuwait is the last”: Sunil Chhetri announces his international retirement


Indian football legend, Sunil Chhetri has announced his retirement from international football. The icon is expected to play his final match for the country in the second round of the World Cup qualifiers against Kuwait on June 6 at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.

The 39-year-old is a pivotal part of Indian football and is cementing his legacy as the country's best footballer with a total of 94 goals in 150 appearances for the nation, and currently sits fourth in the overall rankings. list of international goalscoring times as well.

The legend made the official announcement on his social media account on X where he posted a 10-minute video talking about his decision to end his national career.

He will end his career in national colors as the country's most prolific goalscorer and his loss will be felt by the team who relied on his talents even during its latter stages where he continues to find the back of the net.

Speaking on the future of Indian football, Chettri stressed that it is time for the country to find the next No.9. He suggested that the team is currently handicapped as none of the current players play as the main striker for their respective clubs and sees the huge hole in the current national team.

Ahead of his final match against Kuwait, he revealed that he feels no pressure and is enjoying every moment he spends with the national team.

FULL TRANSCRIPT OF SUNIL CHHETRI’S RETIREMENT ANNOUNCEMENT

There is one day that I never forget and that I remember very often, it was the first time I played for my compatriot, it was incredible. But the day before, morning of the day, Sukhi sir, my first coach of the national team, in the morning he came to me and he said to me, are you going to start? I can't tell you how I felt man. I took my swimsuit, I put perfume on it, I don't know why. So that day, everything that happened, once he told me, from breakfast to lunch and the match and my first goal on my debut, to conceding at the end from the 80th minute, this day is probably one I will never forget and is one of the best days of my national team journey.

You know, the feeling I remember over the last 19 years is a very beautiful combination of the pressure of duty and immense joy. I never thought individually, it's the many games I played for the country, it's what I did, good or bad, but now I've done it. This last month and a half, two months I did it and it was very strange. I did it because I was probably going to decide that this match, this next match would be my last.

And the moment I first said to myself that yes, this was the game that was going to be my last, that's when I started to remember everything. It was so strange, I started thinking about this match, this match, this coach, this coach, this team, this member, this pitch, this away match, this good match, to this bad match, to all my individual performances, everything happened, all the flashes came. So when I decided that this was it, this would be my last match,

I told my mother, my father and my wife, my family first, my father was, my father was my father, he was normal, he was relieved, happy, everything, but my mother and my wife immediately started crying and I told them, you always bother me because there are too many matches, there is too much pressure when you look at me and now that I tell 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 explain to me why they were bursting into tears. It's not that I felt tired, it's not that I felt this or that, when the instinct came to me that this had to be my last match, I thought about it a lot.

And finally I made this decision, so, you know, will I be sad after this? Of course. Do I feel sad sometimes every day because of this? Yes. Do I want the train, I'm going to miss the train and I'll have to run and there's only 20 days of training and it'll all be gone? Yes.

It took a long time because the kid in me, he never wants to stop if you give him the chance to play for his country, man. Never. There hasn't been, I've been, I'm really lucky in my life, there's been so many amazing things that have happened to me. I'm practically living a dream, but nothing comes close to playing for a country. S

o the child continued to fight and will likely continue to fight internally in the future. I think the sane, mature player, one person inside knows it, knows it, that this is it. But it wasn't easy. Every training I do with the national team now, and I can say it because my name came in the camp. Every training I do with the national team, I just want to enjoy it, man. I can feel it, I don't feel the pressure, whereas this match requires pressure against Kuwait.

We need all three points to qualify for the next round, the third round. It's extremely important for us, but in a very strange and nice way, I don't feel any pressure because I know that these 15, 20 days of training with the national team and the match against Kuwait are the last .

So I'm sure I'm just going to go out there and enjoy and give it everything I have. I'm going to say something controversial. I don't think I know of a player who enjoys more love, affection and adulation from my country's fans in a holistic manner than me.

A lot of times people talk about high school, this or that number of games, but the one thing I think I have the best and I'm truly blessed with is the love and affection that I have. I think it's time for our country to see the next number nine. It is time to build on this foundation. We are already a bit handicapped because a lot of players, a lot of boys in the national team don't play number nine at their club and that's another topic we can talk about. At least now, while I won't be there, I'm pretty sure there are a lot of them coming in and they'll need some time. You know how many things in your life are going well and you enjoy them, but you always want that one thing that gives you that extra boost or another type of happiness where everything that is going well in your life seems kid, the national team is for me, but I'm going to miss everything. From the day the name comes, you are called to the camp, you join them, you meet all the players from different clubs, you have one agenda, you sit down, you train together. have dinner together and then wear the jersey around the national anthem.

From my first camp, first captain to Venkatesh, from Bhaichung Bhutia, from Renedy Singh, Sameer Naik, Subroto Pal, Sur Kumar, MP Pradeep, Climax Lawrence, Stephen Dias, Abhishek Yadav, Mehraj-ud-Din, so many of them , MP Pradeep, to this team, the young people. I asked them, how old are you? 2002. How old are you? 2003. They tell me their date of birth.

Everyone, the whole team, the players I played with, the teams I played against, the coaches I learned from, from my first coach Sukhi sir, Bob Hougton, Armando sir, Wim Koevermans, Savio sir, Stephen Constantine, Igor Stimac, to the doctors, to the physiotherapists, to everyone. And I'm just taking all your names so you know that without you, these 19 years would not have been possible.

Personally, I spoke to you and told you this. From the time I was 20 until now when I am 39, I have been so loved and encouraged and people go crazy with happiness when I do well. I think it's a great opportunity for me.

So thank you, thank you to the co-group who helped me be the kind of player I became and for the 19 years, to the fans, to those who think I should retire, I hope that makes you happy. To those who think I shouldn't have and did the right thing, thank you for your love and affection, I have reached my 19th birthday. Make sure you understand that you are part of it. Yeah, one last match against Kuwait. For our sake, let's have a good match, win the game and we can leave happy. And it's over.

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