Indian star footballer Sunil Chhetri is planning to retire. He wants to retire after the last tournament of the AFC Cup, which will be held next year. Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac has revealed that talismanic striker Sunil Chhetri is playing the final season of his illustrious career.
He said that he will play in India’s AFC Asia Cup, which will be held in Qatar from January 12 to February 10. After that, he will retire. The 38-year-old Chhetri will play in his third continental showpiece and become the most-capped Indian after playing a key role in the qualification tournament here last year.
Chhetri is 38 years old. Chhetri is third on the list of active footballers with the most international goals. Ronaldo (118) and Messi (98) and Chhetri 84 goals accordingly. This will probably be his last game in football. Obviously, Sunil may be playing his last season. Definitely his last Asia Cup next time, said Stimac.
The national team is currently conducting a five-day training camp ahead of the Tri-Nation Football Tournament, which begins in Imphal on March 22. Chhetri was a member of the Indian teams that participated in the 2011 and 2019 Asia Cups. The 38-year-old Chhetri, who made his international debut in 2005, played a key role in Bengaluru FC’s run to the Indian Super League final on Saturday.
“Sunil Chhetri is nowhere to be seen this season. He is on the bench and waiting. He is preparing himself and working to lose a few kilos. It is very difficult to maintain fitness at this age,” added Stimac.
Along with Chhetri, the Indian team includes central-defender Sandesh Jhingan and goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu as aging stars. They are close to retirement. Changes in the group of core players in the near future are appreciable.
Chhetri Sandesh (Jhingan) and Gurpreet (Singh Sandhu) are the main strengths of our team. They are free-spirited people of great character and strong minds. It is the basic platform for us to build the team. But we must remember their age. The coach feels that Gurpreet and Sandesh can play for four or five years.