*** ----> Indian record-breaker Chhetri to retire from international football | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Indian record-breaker Chhetri to retire from international football

AFP | New Delhi

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

India captain Sunil Chhetri said yesterday he will retire from international football aged 39, ending a record-breaking career for his country spanning two decades.

The attacker has hit 94 goals in 150 appearances for India, behind only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the list of active international goal-scorers.

He is also India’s most-capped player.

In a video message on social media platform X, Chhetri said the 2026 World Cup qualifier against Kuwait in Kolkata on June 6 will be his last international outing.

“It’s not that I was feeling tired, not that I was feeling this or that,” he said. “When the instinct came that this should be my last game, I thought about it a lot and eventually I came to this decision,” he said.

India is second in qualifying Group A with four points, behind Qatar. “The game against Kuwait demands pressure, we need the three points to qualify for the next round. It’s hugely important for us,” the skipper said.

“But in a strange way, I don’t feel the pressure because these 15-20 days with the national team and the match against Kuwait is the last,” he added. Across club and country, Chhetri’s goal tally stands at 252 from 515 appearances, averaging almost a goal every two games.

He scored a penalty in India’s most recent outing, a 2-1 World Cup qualifying defeat to Afghanistan in March. “The phases, the faces, the eras and battles -- he’s been the one constant through it all,” Chhetri’s Indian Super League club Bengaluru FC said on X after the announcement.

“He’s going to do it one last time, and we can never be grateful enough for the giant that walked amongst men.”