NEW DELHI: Legendary National Team striker Bhaichung Bhutia congratulated Sunil Chhetri on overtaking his record, and becoming India’s most capped International player at 108 matches. Chhetri on Wednesday (June 5, 2019) overtook his mentor Bhutia’s record of 107 matches when he captained India in the King’s Cup opener against Curacao.
“I am extremely proud of him. Big congratulations to you Sunil,” Bhaichung said. “He has been a great leader, and a great player for India. I hope he continues to perform in the manner he has been doing,” Bhutia added. “You could always see the kind of committed player he was since we first met in Kolkata. His hunger to succeed always made him special,” Bhutia opined.
“There’s no reason why he can’t continue for long. He is a thorough professional. He is most hard working senior player in the circuit. In fact, even if you compare him to younger players, Sunil stands out,” Bhutia stated. “He is always at the gym doing that extra bit. The manner he has maintained his fitness is exemplary. He is a very sincere soul,” Bhutia expressed.
Chhetri did justice to his potential converting India’s sole goal from the spot, and came close to scoring in the second half, but his header bounced off the post.
Meanwhile, former defender par excellence Mahesh Gawli complemented Bhutia’s views. “I’ve known Sunil since he was a kid back in Mohun Bagan. His dedication should be an inspiration for all; and it shows as today he is India’s most capped International player. This is a great achievement for him, as well as for Indian Football. I hope that he keeps doing greater things in the future,” Gawli opined.
Former Indian midfielder Renedy Singh clarified “no player ever plays for records.”
“Sunil has been a regular in the India starting XI for more than a decade now. No player thinks of breaking records when they are on the pitch. But this is a great testament to the way he has kept himself motivated all these years. Congratulations. Keep it up,” Renedy expressed.
Sunil’s striking partner in the AFC Asian Cup Doha 2011 Abhishek Yadav praised Sunil for being at the pinnacle of his fitness.
“The fact that he has kept himself in peak fitness for so many years is an inspiring story. He is such a crucial player in the team, and it is a testament to his dedication to the game,” Yadav, the current Director of National Teams reflected. “I have enjoyed playing with him in the National Team, and it’s wonderful to watch him grow not only as a player, but also as an individual.”