Sunil Chhetri has been the torchbearer for Indian Football for the past many years. He has already become a national legend and replacing his position in the Indian team would not be an easy job. Sunil Chhetri is already 34 years old and his time as a football player is sadly nearing an end. However, there are still players who are earning quite a lot of fame for themselves.
When the great IM Vijayan retired, Bhaichung Bhutia was ready to take over the mantle. When Bhutia called it a day, Chhetri was already an emerging star. Although there isn’t anything to suggest that the Indian captain will end his career in the immediate future, his age means the inevitable is not too far ahead and as it stands there is no candidate strong enough to fill his boots.
Although, Sunil Chhetri opened up about his retirement and cleared the air that he is not thinking about hanging his boots at the moment.
In a live chat on the Facebook page of the Indian football team; Chhetri said, “I am enjoying my football and am not going away anytime soon. I don’t want to put numbers (on how long I will keep playing). But I am enjoying my football and I am not going away anytime soon”.
“I told my wife that I am feeling so fit. I am going to challenge Udanta and Ashique Kuruniyan (both India and Bengaluru FC teammates) for a sprint. Unless a Sahal (Abdul Samad) scores a lot of goals and push me away (from the national team), I am going to be there, playing for the team.”
Three players who can replace the likes of Sunil Chhetri in the Indian football scene:
1. Jeje Lalpekhlua
Jeje Lalpekhlua is an Indian professional footballer who plays as a central forward for the India national football team and SC East Bengal in the Indian Super League. Moreover, he is also the second-highest Indian goalscorer in the ISL. In 2015, he won the I-league with Mohun Bagan and the Indian Super League with ChennaiyinFC.
He was subsequently named the FPAI Football Player of the Year. Jeje has 24 goals to his name in 77 matches with a ratio of 0.32 in the ISL. He has already won the ISL and continues his amazing run even with the Indian team. He also was among the goals for India during their match against Thailand at the AFC Asian Cup.
2. Anirudh Thapa
Though still very young, Anirudh has made quite a name for himself with impressive performance for both Chennaiyin FC and the Indian national team. His surge to the top has attracted a lot of attention towards him and his performance keeps on improving.
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3. Udanta Singh
Udanta Singh has been amazing for both club and country and has been an important player for his team. Under the guidance of his mentor and teammate Sunil Chhetri, Udanta has what it takes to reach the top.