The 37-year-old Chhetri, who surpassed the legendary Pele to reach 79 in his international goal count against Male in the SAAF Championships on Wednesday, took a philosophical approach to his approach to the game.
“The truth is that it (his career) is going to end soon and I am enjoying every moment of it,” Chhetri said.
When asked how Chhetri went through the ups and downs during his glittering career, he said, “I have a very simple mantra now. Stand up friend, very little time left, very few games left, go quietly and give your best. (Everything) is going to end in a short time.”
He said, “Stop shedding tears, jumping in joy, stop over-celebrating, stop being disheartened because it will all end soon. Right now I will try to give my best on the field because I know it is going to end soon.
But at the same time, Chhetri clarified that this will not happen in the next few years.
“Sunil Chhetri is not going anywhere in the next few years. So be comfortable.”
This charismatic player is third in terms of goals scored among active footballers, behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. He said that he prefers to keep himself away from outside talk as there are not many matches left in his career.
Chhetri made his India debut against Pakistan in Quetta in 2005. He has played 124 matches for India so far in his career of 16 years.
He said, “I am abused or praised by people, I try to forget everything. I try to give my best when I get on the field.
Asked about Pele’s record breaking, Chhetri said, “Anyone who knows football understands that there is no comparison (with Pele). I am happy that I am playing and scoring goals for my country. That’s all I want.”