Sports News

Sunil Chhetri’s followers pay emotional tribute to him on his retirement.

Indian football supporters paid emotional respect to captain Sunil Chhetri, who announced his retirement following the FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifier against Kuwait.

In Briefly

  • Sunil Chhetri has announced his international retirement.
  • Fans offer an emotional homage to India.
  • Captain Chhetri is India’s leading goal scorer.

Sunil Chhetri, India’s football captain, broke terrible news to his fans on Thursday, May 16, when he announced his international retirement. The 39-year-old made the unexpected news in a video statement posted to his social media account, recalling the glory days of his career.

The FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifier versus Kuwait would be Chhetri’s final international appearance for India, capping an outstanding 20-year career.

The Secunderabad-born footballer will retire as the country’s most prolific goal scorer, with 94 goals in 150 outings.

Chhetri’s 94 goals place him fourth on the list of the most prolific goal scorers in international football history, trailing only the legendary Cristiano Ronaldo (128), Ali Daei (108) and Lionel Messi (106).

Chhetri’s excellent efforts helped India win the Nehru Cup in 2007, 2009, and 2012, as well as the SAFF Championship in 2011, 2015, 2021, and 2023.

Chhetri earned the Khel Ratna Award in 2021.

The Indian captain has received various notable honours from the Government of India, including the Arjuna Award in 2011 and the Padma Shri in 2019. In 2021, Chhetri received India’s highest sporting distinction, the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award, making him the first footballer to get the award.

Speaking in the video message, Chhetri described his family’s responses as he informed them of his intention to retire, stating that his mother and wife began crying at hearing it.

“I told my mom, my dad, and my wife, my family first, my dad was, my dad was my dad, he was normal, he was relieved, happy, everything, but my mom and my wife started crying, and I told them, you always bugged me about there being too many games, too much pressure when you watch me, and now that I’m telling you that, you know, I’m not going to play for my country anymore after this game.

Meanwhile, followers on social media offered emotional tributes to Chhetri as he prepared for the end of his career.

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