Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri has completed 15 glorious years of playing for the country, and he is, without a doubt, one of the finest India has produced. Chhetri is India's leading goal-scorer in international football and has been instrumental in the country's success.
While he leads the Indian football team at the international level, Chhetri is also the skipper of Indian Super League (ISL) club Bengaluru FC. Like of the rest of us, Chhetri too has his footballing idols, some of whom played a major role in shaping the player he is today.
In a Facebook live session on the Indian football team page, the Bengaluru FC forward shed some light on the players he idolised while growing up.
Chhetri said, “I idolised IM Vijayan and Krisanu Dey when I started watching football. After that, it was Bhaichung Bhutia in India and Brazilian Ronaldo abroad. After that, it kept changing.”
Chhetri also spoke about his experience of sharing a dressing room with his idol Bhutia during his first year at Mohun Bagan.
“I remember I had a chat with Bhaichung when I was in Mohun Bagan, my debut season," he added.
"He came back from Bury. I used to ask him how you do it because he was the most prominent figure in Indian football. He was huge. He told me that don’t worry, you won't even know how time passes by and you will be there.
"Now when I get a congratulatory message from him for completing 15 years it feels special.”
Chhetri also spoke about the influence Bhutia has had on his career until date.
The Indian football team captain added, "The influence of Bhaichung is immense. I signed for Mohun Bagan and then I got the news that Bhaichung also joined the club. The first day he met me he told me that I have heard about you and you are doing well. I told everyone in my family and friends that Bhaichung told me that.
“From there to sharing dressing rooms with him for the club and the country is a huge thing. I learned a lot from him. Not only him, but the other senior players also inspired me.”