India Captain Sunil Chhetri announced on Thursday that he will be retiring from International football after the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifier against Kuwait on June 6.

Chhetri announced the decision via a video message posted on social media platform X. The 39-year-old striker has been capped 145 times by India, scoring 94 goals in a career spanning 20 years.

“The feel that I recollect in the last 19 years is a very nice combination of duty, pressure and immense joy,” Chhetri said in the video message.

“I never thought individually these are the games I’ve played for the country, this is what I’ve done good, I’ve done bad. But, now I did it, this last one-and-a-half two months. It felt very strange,” he said. “I did it because I was going towards the decision that the next game was going to be my last.”

“Every training that I do with the national team, I just want to enjoy. 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.

“But in a strange way, I don’t feel the pressure because these 15-20 days with the national team and the match against Kuwait is the last,” he added.

The striker also hinted that it was time to give a chance to the next generation of Indian ‘number nines’.

More to follow…