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Indian record-breaker Chhetri to retire from international football

Published May 16,2024
India's forward #11 Sunil Chhetri reacts during the Qatar 2023 AFC Asian Cup Group B football match between Syria and India at Al-Bayt Stadium in al-Khor, north of Doha, on January 23, 2024. (AFP)

India captain Sunil Chhetri said Thursday he will retire from international football aged 39, ending a record-breaking career for his country spanning two decades.

The attacker has hit 94 goals in 150 appearances for India, behind only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the list of active international goal-scorers.

He is also India's most-capped player.

In a video message on social media platform X, Chhetri said the 2026 World Cup qualifier against Kuwait in Kolkata on June 6 will be his last international outing.

"It's not that I was feeling tired, not that I was feeling this or that," he said.

"When the instinct came that this should be my last game, I thought about it a lot (and) eventually I came to this decision," he said.

India are second in qualifying Group A with four points, behind Qatar.

"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.