India Captain Sunil Chhetri announced on Thursday that he will retire from international football after the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifier against Kuwait on June 6.

Sunil Chettri
Sunil Chhetri

Chhetri made the announcement via a video message posted on the social media platform X. The 39-year-old striker has been capped 145 times by India, scoring 94 goals in a career spanning 20 years.

“The feeling I recollect over the last 19 years is a very nice combination of duty, pressure, and immense joy,” Chhetri said in the video message. “I never thought about the individual games I’ve played for the country, what I’ve done well, or what I’ve done poorly. But recently, in the last one-and-a-half to two months, I did. It felt very strange. I did it because I was approaching the decision that the next game would be my last.”

“Every training session 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 said. “But in a strange way, I don’t feel the pressure because these 15-20 days with the national team and the match against Kuwait will be my last,” he added.

The striker also hinted that it was time to give a chance to the next generation of Indian ‘number nines.’

Chhetri made his 150th appearance for India in March and scored on that occasion against Afghanistan in Guwahati. India, however, lost that game 1-2.

Having made his debut in 2005, Chhetri has scored 94 goals for the country. He will leave the scene 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.

MTNews Desk

One thought on “Sunil Chhetri announces retirement from international football after 2026 World Cup Qualifier”
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