Kolkata: Sunil Chhetri has no plans to retire anytime soon as the iconic Indian captain on Thursday said he is at his fittest and like always does not have a long term goal with thoughts of calling it a day farthest away from his mind.
Chhetri, 35, is India’s all-time top scorer and the second-highest in the list of active international scorers in world football.
Chhetri, who made his debut against Pakistan in Quetta in 2005, will complete 15 years on the international arena on Friday.
“I am living a dream. I am completing 15 years and probably 3,4,5 more years…who knows ending up with 20 years for your country. What do you want?” Chhetri said during an interaction with All India Football Federation’s ‘AIFF TV’ on Facebook.
“I don’t want to put numbers. My wife asked me this. She keeps reading stuff on the internet and she asked me what do you think? I said listen Sonam I feel the fittest (I have left) in my life…I am enjoying my football. So I don’t know. I don’t see it (retirement) any time soon as I am enjoying it.
“I plan to challenge Udanta (Singh) and Ashique (Kuruniyan) for a speed test. I am as I was when I was 16..thinking about the game so unless 10 Sahal Abdul Samads push me to the bench..I am enjoying my game right now,” Chhetri said.
Asked about his long term and short term goals, Chhetri who plays for Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) and is the highest scorer amongst Indians in the league’s history said he never has any long term plans.
“I don’t have any, never had any (long term goals). Short term is just next week and how do I improve myself. I might get the permission soon to go back to Bellary. I will go there and train.
“The national camp might start from August end or whenever it’s (starting) so I just want to be a better player then. The matches are against Qatar, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. I just want to give a good account of myself. I just want to be a better person tomorrow.”
Chhetri also heaped praise on the Indian U-16 team, saying the youngsters today give him hope and he wants competition for places in the side.
“The U-16 team is doing so well. I want to see India among the top 10 teams in Asia and these young players give me hope. We were not so good when we were 16,” Chhetri said.
He added that he was fortunate to have supportive family and friends who deserve a large chunk of his success.
“I have been blessed with a great team (family and close friends). People don’t know about them. I am doing the last bit, small things like taking care of finances…people can tell me on my face that I am wrong. So surround yourself with people who want to grow with you. The margins are very small in our profession.”
Chhetri also said all his teammates over the years deserve a lot of credit for where he is today.