Sunil Chhetri might be in the twilight zone of his illustrious career but his hunger to find the back of the net every time he dons the ‘India Blues’ is what keeps the 38-year-old going.
Chhetri, the third most prolific international scorer (84 goals from 132 matches) among active international players after Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, said his hunger to score is the same as it has always been.
“I don’t want to sound pompous, but I feel that there aren’t many players who are as hungry to score as I am,” Chhetri said ahead of India’s match against Kyrgyzstan in the tri-nation international football tournament here.
“My hunger to score is the same as it has always been, and it will be the same against Kyrgyzstan.”
Having beaten Myanmar 1-0 in the first match on Wednesday last, India need just a draw in the last match of the tournament on Tuesday.
In the Myanmar match, Chhetri had found the target but the referee had disallowed the goal, ruling that he was offside.India head coach Igor Stimac had also claimed that Chhetri should have got a penalty for a foul on him by a Myanmar player.
“Off-sides and penalty decisions are a part of the game, and you think about them for a certain amount of time, but then you move on and look forward to the next match,” said Chhetri who made his India debut in 2005.“What you rather do is minimise mistakes and move on.”
The talismanic striker also felt that joining the national camp just after losing the ISL final for Bengaluru FC was like a boon.
“The national team camp gave us an outlet.If the camp wasn’t there, it would have been more difficult for us to cope,” Chhetri said, referring to Bengaluru FC’s defeat to ATK Mohun Bagan in the ISL final via penalty shootout.
“It’s not a switch of a button.You come to national camp and see the set-up and it takes your mind far from the loss, you start training, and your mind is further.”
India vs Kyrgyzstan: Kickoff: 6pm, Live on Star Sports Network