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Indian Football Legend Sunil Chhetri Announces Retirement From Sport

"One last game... for all our sakes...let's win the game and we can depart, happily," he expressed, encapsulating the bittersweet essence of his departure.

In a heartfelt announcement, Sunil Chhetri, the revered captain of the Indian national football team, has revealed his decision to retire from international football, marking 6th June as his final match.

Through a poignant video shared on undisclosed social media platform X, Chhetri conveyed his sentiments, emphasizing the significance of India’s upcoming World Cup qualification clash against Kuwait as his swan song. “One last game… for all our sakes…let’s win the game and we can depart, happily,” he expressed, encapsulating the bittersweet essence of his departure.

With a remarkable career spanning 19 years, Chhetri etched his name in the annals of Indian football history, commencing with his debut goal in 2005. Amidst a cricket-dominated landscape, he emerged as a beacon, garnering accolades both domestically and internationally for his unparalleled contribution.

Presently, Chhetri holds the illustrious title of being the third-highest scorer of international goals among active footballers, trailing only behind luminaries Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

In his nearly ten-minute-long video message, he reflected on the ebbs and flows of his journey, acknowledging the emotional gravity of his decision. “The kid inside will probably keep fighting to play football, but the sensible, mature player and person knows that this is it,” he lamented, encapsulating the dichotomy of his emotions.

Following his announcement, an outpouring of tributes flooded social media platforms, underscoring his indelible impact on Indian football. Fans hailed him as a “captain, leader, legend,” symbolizing the end of an era in Indian football. His longevity in the sport, coupled with his unwavering work ethic, has been lauded as pivotal to his success.

Throughout his career, Chhetri amassed an impressive array of awards, including the prestigious Arjuna Award and the Padma Shri. Internationally, he led India to glory in numerous tournaments, solidifying his status as an icon. His dedication to fitness and discipline, evident in his meticulous diet and training regime, has been a source of inspiration for aspiring athletes nationwide.

As Chhetri bids adieu to the pitch, the inevitable question looms large: “After Chhetri, who?” His departure marks the end of an era, leaving a void that will resonate within the hearts of fans and players alike, while his legacy continues to inspire generations to come.