India coach Igor Stimac, on Tuesday, lavished praise on Chhetri saying that he trains and plays like a 25-year-old. Chhetri went past Argentine maestro Lionel Messi as the second most prolific scorer among active footballers with his 74th strike for the country in his 117th match.
But the Indian captain dismissed any comparison with Messi or any player in that category.
“I am not annoyed with this comparison but my take on it is this: there is no comparison whatsoever with Messi or any player in that category. There are thousands of players better than me. People who understand football, they know it,” he said.
“I am proud of scoring 74 goals for my country. Till the last match I play I will give my best.”
The never-ending queries on retirement notwithstanding, inspirational Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri on Wednesday said he is not hanging up his boots anytime soon as his hunger to perform is still intact even though finding motivation can be difficult sometimes.
The 36-year-old, who scored two superb goals against Bangladesh to lead India to a 2-0 win in the World Cup qualifier match in Doha on Monday, also refrained from setting any long-term targets.
“I’m not thinking about hanging my boots. I’m not arrogant here. I am enjoying my football. I have never been fitter than now. I am 36 but the zeal and hunger of playing for the country is still there,” Chhetri said in an online interaction from Doha.
“A lot of people ask I am 36 and how long I will continue. I am not bothered. People will have opinions and I am fine with that. The day I don’t enjoy my football, I will go, I will not be there.”
He said with age, he is more aware of his game than before and knows exactly what works for him
“The only difficult part is the motivation. The older you get and more you achieve, the motivation goes down.”