Sunil Chhetri has been Indian Football’s lynchpin ever since Bhaichung Bhutia retired. He has tirelessly worked away to get India on the global football map, and is very close to guiding India to the Asia Cup.
The 4th highest goal scorer amongst active players, Chhetri has been scoring bucketloads of goals for the country and has helped Bengaluru FC make a mark for itself in the Asian Circuit through the AFC Cup!
For all that he has done for Indian Football, Sunil Chhetri is the most sought after player in the ISL. With two new teams being drafted in, Bengaluru FC and Tata Steel’s Jamshedpur side, it was always going to be interesting to see if Chhetri sticks with Mumbai City FC(his ISL side for 2 seasons) or stays with his I-league side Bengaluru FC.
While the owners of the respective sides would have had their say, in the end it was Chettri’s choice. And he has chosen Bengaluru FC.
“In the end it came down to what Sunil wanted. It was his choice (to stay with Bengaluru FC),” Mandhar Tamane(BFC CTO) told TOI.
“He may have been originally a Bengaluru FC player and loaned to Mumbai (in the ISL) last season but both franchises had the right to retain him,” said a source.
According to the ISL present guidleines, teams can retain upto two players. BFC had retained Chhetri and Udanta Singh. The complete set of guidelines will be provided in the next 48 hours.
With the ISL getting official recognition, India will now have two national leagues, and hopefully it will give domestic players more exposure and will help them prepare themselves well for the national setup.