Football

Sunil Chhetri Announces Retirement: Legendary India Captain Reveals His Final Game

India’s legendary Sunil Chettri has announced that he will be retiring from international football after the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Kuwait on June 6.

AIFF
Sunil Chettri Photo: AIFF
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India’s legendary Sunil Chettri has announced that he will be retiring from international football after the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Kuwait on June 6. (More Football News)

Chettri made announcement via a video posted on his social media platform X.

The 39-year-old forward has featured in 145 games for India, scoring a staggering 93 goals. He is also the Blue Tigers’ leading goal scorer as well as the most capped player in history.

With respect to the active goal scorers, India’s Chhetri only sits behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi with 128 and 108 international goals respectively.

Chhetri made his international debut under his first national coach Sukhwinder Singh against Pakistan, 19 years ago on June 12, 2005. The Secunderabad-born striker also netted his first goal in the same game. 

The long-serving skipper will play his final game in national colours against Kuwait in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.He has played an immense part in India’s victories in the Nehru Cup and SAFF Championships. Chhetri also helped India secure their first AFC Asian Cup appearance in 27 years back in 2008.

Chhetri has been a part of Dempo SC, United SC, Mohun Bagan Super Giant, Sporting CP B, Churchill Brothers, Mumbai City FC and Bengaluru FC. 

The Kuwait game is a do-or-die territory for the Blue Tigers to remain in contention for a FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Round 3 berth. With four points from four games, India are currently second on Group A. The top two teams from the group progresses to the next phase. 

India coach Igor Stimac has sung plenty of Chhetri praises talking about his sacrifices, intensity and no compromise attitude.

“I see him as someone who always pushes the bar in training and never compromises with the regime. He drives the team and he is the character who defines the team. Numerous characters have glorified the Indian football history and he's definitely one of them who have made his country proud,” Stimac said in a release issued by the All India Football Federation.

The Indian captain also shares a beautiful bond with the Croatian Stimac as Chhetti selflessly stated that he was one of the best managers the 39-year-old had played under.

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