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Sunil Chhetri to play his last match for India against Kuwait in June

Indian Football Team captain Sunil Chhetri announced that he will retire from International Football after the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifier match against Kuwait on June 6.

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Abishek Goswami
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Sunil Chhetri to retire in June

Sunil Chhetri to retire from International Football in June

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Indian Football Legend Sunil Chhetri announced that he will retire from International Football after the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers 2026 match against Kuwait in Kolkata on June 6. The long-serving national team captain announced his decision via a video he posted on his social media accounts. India are currently sitting second in Group A with four points, behind leaders Qatar. After 19 years of International Football, Chhetri's career has now only 1 game left.

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Chhetri made his 150th appearance for India in March and scored on the occasion against Afghanistan in Guwahati. However, the Blue Tigers lost that game 1-2. Chhetri made his debut in 2005, and since then has scored 94 goals for the country. Sunil also scored his first goal for India on his debut against Pakistan. He will leave as India's all-time top scorer and most-capped player. He is also third in the list of goal scorers among active players behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

"The feeling that I recollect in the last 19 years is a very nice combination of duty, pressure, and immense joy. I never thought individually these are the games I've played for the country, this is what I've done good, I've done bad. But, now I did it, this last one-and-a-half two months. It felt very strange," he said on the video. "I did it because I was going towards the decision that the next game was going to be my last."

"Every training that I do with the national team, I just want to enjoy. 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 added.

"But strangely, I don't feel the pressure because these 15-20 days with the national team and the match against Kuwait is the last," he further added.

Sunil Chhetri's Footballing Career

Chhetri started his professional career at Mohun Bagan in 2002. He then moved to JCT and scored 21 goals in 48 games. Sunil then signed for Major League Soccer's Kansas City Wizards in 2010, becoming the third player from the subcontinent to move abroad. However, he soon returned to India and played for Chirag United and Mohun Bagan. Before going abroad. This time he was signed by Primeira Liga Sporting Clube de Portugal, where he played for the club's reserve side. 

On 19 July 2013, following his release from Sporting CP, Chhetri signed with new direct-entry I-League side Bengaluru and since then, he has been playing for them.

He helped India win the 2007, 2009, and 2012 Nehru Cup. He also won the 2011 SAFF Championship. Sunil Chhetri has won a total of four SAFF Championship titles. Chhetri was one of India's best players during the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup, in which India won the tournament and qualified for their first AFC Asian Cup in 27 years. He then led India during their short-lived campaign at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. In 2015, he became the first Indian player to score 50 international goals.

Chhetri's career saw him winning the AIFF Player of the Year award on six occasions (2007, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2017, and 2018–19), the Arjuna Award in 2011, and the Padma Shri in 2019. 

Indian Football Sunil Chhetri Fifa FIFA World Cup Qualifiers