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Monday, June 17, 2024
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Kolkata

“This is my home. Where will I go?” – Sunil Chhetri

As we are approaching the end of February, there are only four months left for Indian Captain Sunil Chhetri’s existing contract at Bengaluru FC to come to an end. In the month of January, Chhetri was told by his representative, Sonu Lamba, that he was free to listen to all offers from other clubs. But, in return, Chhetri asked the latter, “This is my home. Where will I go?”

To welcome Sunil Chhetri, there are at least four top-flight clubs waiting to sign the Indian Captain. FC Goa, are the first in the line who have knocked on Chhetri’s door in January itself when Brandon Fernandes picked up an injury and was ruled out for a while. With Bengaluru FC still in doubt for a playoff spot in the on-going season of Hero Indian Super League, the India captain didn’t want to make such a vital decision just like that.

Sergio Lobera’s Mumbai City FC, have also made made a superb offer for the Indian captain while ATK Mohun Bagan also wants him to return to Kolkata and end his career with the club where the story of a 5 ft. 6′ tall youngster’s journey to become “The Man, The Myth, The Legend” got the much desired take-off almost 20 years back.

ATK Mohun Bagan’s arch-rival, SC East Bengal are also in a mood to get the Indian linchpin on their roster. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the club due to their battle for gaining some momentum under English Coach, Robbie Fowler, the ISL debutants have told Chhetri to “wait” before he decides his future.

“Sunil’s contract is getting over by the end of this season but he has said that he can never play against the Bengaluru FC fans. In all likelihood, he will stay at the club,” Sonu Lamba, Chhetri’s representative had said.

Sonu Lamba has already started talks with Bengaluru FC about Sunil Chhetri’s future and is likely to get sorted as early as possible.

Sunil Chhetri was Bengaluru’s biggest signing when the club was launched back in 2013. At that time, he was returning from Portugal and had just won the I-League with Churchill Brothers SC who were almost ready to offer him with a new contract.

“Going to Bengaluru FC was just a very lucky chat with me, my agent and my father. We had the offer from Churchill. We were going to play the AFC Cup. The Churchill Brothers SC family loved and adored me. I was almost going to sign. Why would you leave an I-League winning team? I met Mandar Tamhane and he said, ‘Don’t sign for Churchill, we’ve got something for you. Give me 10-15 days.’

“I waited and they showed me the plan of BFC because there were no names. I was sceptical, but Mandar was convinced and told me it was important that I sign. So overnight I decided. Now when I look back, I’m really happy with the decision. Look at the number of trophies we have won,”
the Indian Captain had said during one of his earlier interviews.


During his first six seasons with Bengaluru FC, i.e., from 2013-2018, they have won a trophy every year alternating between Hero I-League, the Federation Cup and the Hero Super Cup. For the last two seasons though, the club has been left with nothing to add to their silverware cabinet. But still, Bengaluru FC do still have one of India’s best player ever in the form of Sunil Chhetri and all indications are that, he’s going nowhere with a strong will to end his career at the Bengaluru-based club only.

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