Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri turned 37-years-old today and on the occasion of his birthday, the legend revealed how he likes to spend his special day.
As revealed by Hindustan Times, Chhetri spoke to them on his birthday and said, "I’m not big on birthday celebrations, and this one won’t be any different. I am with my club Bengaluru FC at our pre-season camp in Bellary. I’ll begin the day doing what I love the most — being on a football pitch. We’re a tightly knit unit, so it’s safe to say I’ll be around ‘family’ on my birthday.
Chhetri then spoke about what he warns his teammates, especially the younger ones when it comes to the topic of his age.
He said, "I keep warning the younger players to not do things at training that remind me of my age! On a serious note, I’m enjoying every day training and playing football. I feel I can keep going. The hunger, desire, and the joy I get from football hasn’t diminished even the slightest.
I do look up to a few athletes and take the best from them all, but in the end, it’s simply wanting to give 100% every single time I play a game, that makes me want to work harder in training.”
Chhetri is the second highest active international goalscorer, ahead of Lionel Messi and behind Cristiano Ronaldo, who will soon become the highest ever international goalscorer in history when he next scores for Portugal.
The Indian captain was also asked about his thoughts on being recommended for Khel Ratna and he said in conclusion, "I’m grateful for all the praise, but it’s not something I chase or desire. Does it spur me to work harder? Yes. About the record and Messi, it isn’t even a comparison. He plays at a different level. I am a huge fan of the player and the man."
Chhetri will most probably next be seen in national team action when India take part in the SAFF Championship to be held in October.
He will then be seen in action with Bengaluru FC as the Indian Super League kicks off tentatively in the third week of November.