The 37-year-old who surpassed the legendary Peel in the number of international goals with his 79th goal in the SAFF Championships match against the Maldives on Wednesday, he became philosophical as he dissected his approach to the game in what is clearly the final stretch of his glorious career.
Chhetri said that “it is a fact that (his career) is going to end soon” and tells himself that he should enjoy every moment.
“Now I have a very simple mantra. Dost khade ho ja, bahut kam time bhacha hey, bahut kam game bump huwe hey, chup chaap ja aur apna best de. Thoda time pe khatam hone wala hey (I tell myself that there is very little time, very few games left, go easy and do your best. It’s going to end in some time) “, said Chhetri when asked how he recovers amid the ups and downs of his illustrious career.
“Stop crying, stop rejoicing, stop celebrating excessively, stop belittling yourself because this will all end very soon. Right now I will get up, go and try to do my best because I know that it is a fact that it will end soon . ”
But at the same time, he made it clear that the inevitable will not happen in the next few years.
“SC11 is not going anywhere for the next few years. So relax,” he said.
The inspiring player, who is the third most prolific international scorer among active players behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel messi, said he prefers to stay away from outside noise as he doesn’t have too many games left in his illustrious career.
He made his international debut in 2005 against Pakistan in Quetta with the head coach. Sukhwinder Singh and went on to break all possible records in Indian football.
He has played a record 124 games for India in his 16-year career. He has been the poster boy for Indian football since the former captain’s retirement. Bhaichung Bhutia in 2011.
“Gali khata hun, ya log tarif karte hey … Everything I try to forget, I go there and try to do my best. I miss, I will miss goals, I will score goals but we will talk about all this once it is done.
“Because I don’t want to regret being able to do this and that. I want to do everything now.”
When asked about how he overtook the great Pelé, Chhetri said: “Everyone who knows football knows there is no comparison (with Pelé). I’m happy to continue playing and scoring for my country. That’s all I want.” said.
“Very few footage of the great man (Pelé) but from what I can see, he was a dynamic and powerful footballer. Football was different in those days, the game was brutal at times then.
“Even though he scored so many goals and that speaks to his great achievement.”