One of Indian football’s most loved players Sunil Chhetri completes a decade and half in international football, having made his debut against neighbours Pakistan in 2005.
Having begun his international career in Pakistan’s Quetta city on June 12, 2005, Chhetri has won crucial matches for India and thankfully for fans, he does not see retirement in the near horizon.
Chhetri in his 15 years at the highest level has played for India 115 times and scored 72 goals. He is the second highest international scorer among active footballers, behind Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and above Argentine maestro Lionel Messi.
"I am fortunate to have played 15 years for my country. It is a dream, 3-4 years more probably and it will be (nearly) 20 years. Who would have thought to play 20 years and so I am living on my dream."
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu feels Sunil Chhetri will keep playing till the age of 41, as his Bengaluru FC teammate is 'getting younger day by day'.
"I can compete with Chhetri in a race because I have bigger strides. He can play six-seven years easily. He is getting younger day by day," Sandhu said during an online chat show hosted by the Indian Super League (ISL).
AIFF President Praful Patel also wished Chhetri on Twitter, saying: "Heartiest Congratulations Sunil Chhetri on completing 15 glorious years in International Football. You are a role model and an inspiration for many!! I wish you all the best for your future ahead!"
Heartiest Congratulations @chetrisunil11 on completing 15 glorious years in International Football. You are a role model and an inspiration for many!! I wish you all the best for your future ahead!@IndianFootball @FIFAcom @theafcdotcom @IndiaSports @KirenRijiju #SunilChhetri pic.twitter.com/YoWIlhvD0N — Praful Patel (@praful_patel) June 12, 2020
Understandably, this milestone has caused a lot of positivity on social media during trying times, much like Chhetri’s used to.
#OnThisDay 1️⃣5⃣ years ago, @chetrisunil11 made his debut for #BlueTigers against Pakistan To mark this occasion, let's look at the landmarks ️ in his illustrious career over the years #15YearsOfSC11 #BackTheBlue #IndianFootball ⚽ pic.twitter.com/6lLXiOijrC — Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) June 12, 2020
Many congratulations @chetrisunil11#Chhetri completing 15th year in International Football is a mega achievement and a proud moment for #IndianFootball We celebrate his achievements. I was part of the discussion when Shri Sukhwinder Singh first shortlisted Sunil in 2005. pic.twitter.com/Q5ZHbUySMV — Shaji Prabhakaran (@Shaji4Football) June 12, 2020
What a privilege and an honor it has been to share the dressing room and the pitch with you for so many years. Congratulations on 15 years, skipper. And here's to 15 more! #15YearsOfSC11 pic.twitter.com/hFVq2LOHRC — Rino Anto (@rinoanto) June 12, 2020
Heartiest Congratulations @chetrisunil11 on completing 15 years in international football with the @IndianFootball. Tremendous consistency & dedication. Many more to go Captain. Best Wishes. #15YearsOfSC11 pic.twitter.com/3Pzk4W0r7i — Mandar Tamhane (@MandarTamhane1) June 12, 2020
15 years. Countless memories. One King. March on, @chetrisunil11. #WeAreBFC pic.twitter.com/usikPPZW2p — Stay At Home Blues (@WestBlockBlues) June 8, 2020