Sunil Chhetri, 35, who is the second-highest goal-scorer in international football after Cristiano Ronaldo, wants to take one game at a time but national coach Igor Stimac believes he has "the body of a 29-year old."
India football captain Sunil Chhetri on Friday said he doesn’t have “too many games left to play” with the national side and that’s the reason why he won’t set himself any long-term goals going forward.
Chhetri said he will take one game at a time from now on.
“I understand that I don’t have many games left to play for my country. There’s no point in jumping the gun. Hence, personally I want to take one game at a time,” Chhetri said in a press release issued by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
The 35-year-old, who is the second-highest goal-scorer in international football after Cristiano Ronaldo, said he has to work hard to maintain his fitness levels even though national coach Igor Stimac has described him as “having the body of a 29-year old.”
“As a team, we need to win as many games as possible. The eventual aim is to qualify for AFC Asian Cup China 22023. We need to be consistently qualifying for the Continental Championship and there can be no compromise on that aspect,” he said.
“The belief in the squad is unmistakable. There’s no reason why we can’t be in China,” he added.
India are currently on three points from five matches in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and are next slated to play Qatar at home on March 26.
“I am so proud that at my club we have 5-6 players playing for the country. It would be great if we can add to that number,” he said.
“There’s so much talent among the young lads. It’s important we continue doing what we are doing. Most importantly we can never get stagnant or complacent,” he added.
“At BFC we have really done well domestically. We want to continue on the trend domestically, and most definitely want to do well in Asia. There’s an opportunity knocking at our doors this year too, and we need to grab it.”
Chhetri said he is aiming “to be a better person than what I was in 2019.”
“Little by little, not by making big promises, I need to be calmer, read more, spend more time with my loved ones, and be more mindful about nature and environment,” he said.
“There can never be any stop to learn about different cultures by travelling to different places. And whatever comes your way, continue the healthy eating habits,” he added.
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