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Updated: July 6, 2012 01:44 IST

Sunil Chhetri joins Sporting Lisbon

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Sunil Chhetri (11) in action in this file photo.
The Hindu
Sunil Chhetri (11) in action in this file photo.

Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri has joined Sporting Clube de Portugal.

Announcing this at a press conference here on Friday, Aureliano Neves, club vice-president, said this was the first step towards the club’s initiative to develop football in India.

“India has a large young population and there is scope for development,” said Neves, while stressing that his club was keen to work with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to develop the sport at the grassroots level.

An emotional Chhetri, who was handed a club jersey, said he would try to make the most of the opportunity. “I will never forget this in my lifetime. I am playing for a nation which is ranked 156th and now I will play in a country which is No. 5, and for one of the best clubs in the world,” said the diminutive striker.

“I am not going to lose this opportunity. I will leave no stone unturned. When I will be a 40-year-old, I will be able to say that I gave whatever was humanely possible for me,” said Chhetri.

The official website of the Sporting Clube de Portugal, also known as Sporting Lisbon, claimed that “Chhetri will join the club’s reserve side.” However, Neves said the decision would rest with the coaches.

Even though Chhetri will play for the Portuguese outfit in the next season, there is a possibility of the contract being extended. Chhetri, who will turn 28 next month, will leave for Lisbon in a week or two as the Portuguese season starts on July 15.

Welcoming the development, AIFF president Praful Patel said: “it is a milestone for Indian football. Sunil will play with some top players of the world.”

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Proud to be indian. good job sunil. play well. india has bright future in football. you are indian ronaldo now..u play aweome..

from:  Pranav Chaughule
Posted on: Jul 7, 2012 at 20:32 IST

Finally there is news apart from cricket. Football if given even 1/5th of the attention given to cricket will show it's true potential. Thanks to chettri da a glimmer of hope fo "the beautiful game" has been established. God bless chettri!!!!

from:  Lewan
Posted on: Jul 7, 2012 at 12:58 IST

It is indeed a great news ,but it must be overhyped we must understand
that Chettri has been invited to play in B level club and its a long
way ahead.
Football in India cant develop for many reasons :
1. Politics: Players from the East are not included in large number all about politics.Even Airtel Ad shows a guy from Mumbai when A guy from Bengal or NE plays way better Football ...hand over the Indian team to them.
2. CLmatic Conditions: Football is a very intense game ,its hard to play and excel in gruelling conditions of hot and humidity as in India.Hence to mitigate these effects better coaching facilities need to be build upon alongwith nutrition support.
3. The ILeague has gone a long way in establishing football but we need more sponsorese more viewers and more money to sustain. That India las at a dismal 165 in FIFA rankings is a sorry state in itself.

from:  Ibu Sanjeeb Garg
Posted on: Jul 7, 2012 at 12:53 IST

Watch Sunil Chhetri, the captain of the Indian football team and the Brand Ambassador for airtel RISING STARS talk about his incredible journey in the world of football!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNHk4JWyPAo

from:  vinki oberoi
Posted on: Jul 6, 2012 at 17:39 IST

Sunil Chhetri is on his way to make India feel proud again.

from:  Ojus Save
Posted on: Jul 6, 2012 at 13:06 IST

Football is one of the most popular game in the world. But Indian government always eye on the development of cricket only. This is the great move for the Indian football team. Now the wannabe football players will take sunil chettry as idol, and will focus on football. And we might see Indian football getting to the top notch.

from:  Ankur
Posted on: Jul 6, 2012 at 12:38 IST

The Government and people of India need to understand that there are
many other exciting games other than cricket in which India can excel
given its rich human resources. Focus should be on bringing games like
football, hockey, basket ball etc.in mainstream at par with cricketing
and make India shining.

from:  Irfan
Posted on: Jul 6, 2012 at 10:33 IST

Great news. Hopefully he makes the starting lineup in the future.

from:  Sadhanadh
Posted on: Jul 6, 2012 at 03:06 IST
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