Sunil Chhetri says that his longevity is the primary reason for Khel Ratna recognition. football news

Indian maestro Sunil Chhetri, the first footballer to be awarded the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award, on Saturday credited his longevity at the top level for bagging the country’s highest sporting honour. The 37-year-old India captain, who started his professional career with the renowned Mohun Bagan club in 2002 and made his international debut in 2005, received the Khel Ratna from President Ram Nath Kovind. “One of the main reasons why I got the Khel Ratna award is because I have been playing for 19 years. I want to thank each and every one of the masseurs, physios and doctors. You have been a superstar which is the main reason why me I can play the pitch,” said Chhetri.

“At times I thought I couldn’t, but you guys made it possible for me,” he said in a statement issued by the All India Football Federation.

He also thanked all the clubs he played for, his teammates – both in the clubs and the national team, fans and his family.

“All these years you have suffered with me, rejoiced with me, you were with me in every ups and downs, you dreamed with me – and I would very happily share this award with each of you. Am.”

Chhetri, India’s greatest footballer since the ‘Golden Era’ of the last century, has played the most international matches and scored the most goals.

With 80 strikes in 125 international matches, he is currently tied with Argentine superstar Lionel Messi on many goals among active players.

He is one of the few Indian footballers to have won the Padma Shri and has also been honored with the Arjuna Award. AIFF President Praful Patel congratulated Chhetri on being awarded the Khel Ratna.

“Congratulations! No one deserves this more than Sunil. He has been the flag bearer and idol of Indian football, having won so many awards for his country and all his clubs over the years.

“I wish them all the best in their future endeavours, and look forward together to lead us to unprecedented glory in the near future.” AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das said:

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“My heartiest congratulations to him. Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award is the pinnacle of all sports awards in the country and Sunil deserves the award.

“He is a living legend, and the icon that all fans look up to. I wish him the very best for his professional and personal life. You have been a true flag bearer for Indian football.” I hope this award will be one He inspires all other Indian footballers and inspires them to reach higher levels in their careers.”

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