Sunil Chhetri to retire after final International match against Kuwait, ending illustrious 20-year career

Sunil Chhetri, the iconic captain of the Indian football team, has announced his retirement from international football. His final appearance will be in a FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifier against Kuwait on June 6, 2024, marking the end of a distinguished career that has spanned nearly two decades.

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Top Indian News Desk
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Courtesy: X/@chetrisunil11

Indian football team captain, Sunil Chhetri has announced that he is retiring from international football after the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifier against Kuwait which will be played on June 6. The 39-year-old striker has played a pivotal role in solidifying the country's position in the national and international games and getting recognition for the country's national sport. 

The legend made an official announcement of his retirement through a 9-minute 51-second emotional video posted on the social media platform X. Chhetri recalled his debut performance, the day he played for the country which he called one of the finest moments of his life. 

Sunil's final game 

Chhetri's 151st and final appearance for India will be at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on June 6 which will be the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifier against Kuwait. He has called this match, "Hugely Important' but at the same time, he mentioned that he does not feel the pressure because he knows that those 15, 20 days of training with the national team and the match against Kuwait is the last. This match will officially put down the curtain on his 2-decade long career as a football stalwart. 

His official retirement message

Chhetri said that he will always remember one day in particular—the first time he performed for the country. He mentioned that everything that transpired on that day, from breakfast to lunch to the game to his first goal on his debut to conceding in the late eighty-minute mark, was something he will never forget and ranks among the finest. 

He expressed his gratitude towards all those who have been part of his career including his first captain in Venkatesh, Bhaichung Bhutia, Renedy Singh, Sameer Naik, Subroto Pal, Sur Kumar, MP Pradeep, Climax Lawrence, Stephen Dias, Abhishek Yadav, Mehraj-ud-Din, his coaches, the team he has played for and the teams he has played against, to the doctors, to the physios and everyone else. 

Let us have a look at Chhetri's illustrious career

Sunil Chhetri has had an incredible career filled with multiple accomplishments, cementing his place as one of the greatest footballers in Indian history. He made his debut in 2005, at the age of 20, with a record of scoring 94 goals for the country, being an all-time top scorer and most-capped player. 

Chhetri is the third-highest international goal scorer among active players, trailing only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. With nearly 80 goals for India, he holds the country records. Recently he achieved his 150th appearance for the Indian national team by scoring a vital goal in a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Afghanistan. Being the star player, Chhetri has represented India in three AFC Asian Cups.