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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Thursday, 25 July 2024 6.42 AM IST

Chhetri's swansong ends in gloom; Indian legend hangs up his boots after 19 years

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KOLKATA: Indian football legend Sunil Chhetri on Friday decided to hang up his boots after devotedly serving the Indian team for a long 19 years. On his final match at Salt Lake stadium in West Bengal, India held Kuwait to a goalless draw in the second leg of the World Cup Qualifiers match.

With the dismal result, India’s big dream to enter the third round of the World Cup qualification is in the balance. After the match, Chhetri walked around the stadium amidst rapturous applause and cheering from the more than 50,000 fans. Sunil Chhetri, now 39, is the fourth-highest goalscorer in international football. He started his scoring streak against Pakistan on June 12, 2005, at the Ayub Stadium in Quetta and ended it in Kolkata.

Chhetri, who played the most matches and scored the most goals for India, was the longest-serving Indian captain ever. Chhetri’s goal tally includes 94 goals in 151 matches. Even at this age, Chhetri is scoring goals at a canter and can easily emerge as the best fit from the whole squad of youngsters. However, the spirited sportsman is also a man of ethos, as he decided to step away, paving the way for the next generation of talents. Chhetri chose Kolkata for his final match in love for the city where he first found his life partner Sonam.

On Thursday, thousands flocked to Salt Lake to bid farewell to one of India’s best-ever football talent who inspired millions. Even though he has retired from international football, Chhetri has announced that he will continue playing club football for two more seasons with Bengaluru FC.

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TAGS: SUNIL CHHETRI, FOOTBALL, INDIA, KOLKATA, SWANSONG, KUWAIT
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