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Sunil Chhetri, who trails only Ronaldo and Messi on international goal-scoring charts, announces retirement

Sunil Chhetri, who trails only Ronaldo and Messi on international goal-scoring charts, announces retirement
Indian footballing icon Sunil Chhetri has announced his retirement from international football, marking the end of an illustrious two-decade journey. The revered captain shared the news through a heartfelt video on his social media handles on Thursday.

Chhetri will bid his farewell after India's FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Kuwait on June 6, taking place in Kolkata—the city where his national team journey commenced 19 years ago in 2005.

Reflecting on his decision, Chhetri expressed: “The moment I told myself first, that yes, this is the game that is going to be my last, is when I started recollecting everything.

“It was so strange, I started thinking about this game, that game, this coach, that coach, that team, that member, that ground, that away match, this good game, that bad game, all my individual performances, everything came, all the flashes came. So when I did decide that this is it, this is going to be my last game.”


With 94 goals to his name, Sunil Chhetri will retire as India's leading goal scorer and most-capped player. The 39-year-old forward also ranks third among active international goal-scorers worldwide, trailing only football legends Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Chhetri's milestone 150th appearance for India came in March this year, where he found the net against Afghanistan in Guwahati. However, despite his goal, India suffered a 1-2 defeat in that match.

Currently positioned second in Group A with four points from four games, India's upcoming clash against Kuwait carries immense significance. A victory is imperative to remain in contention for a spot in the World Cup Qualifiers Round 3, especially considering India faces a tougher test against Qatar in their final group stage encounter. Only the top two teams will advance to the next round.

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