India's captain Sunil Chhetri (11) reacts after scoring team's 2nd goal agianst Cameroon during Nehru cup final match in New Delhi. (PTI Photo by Vijay Verma)
Making my debut with the India versus Pakistan match in 2004
Low point of your life
Not getting a work permit to play for UK club Queens Park Rangers
If you weren’t a footballer you would have been?
An army officer.
How does it feel to be the second Indian footballer to play abroad after Baichung Bhutia?
To represent India in a diverse dressing room is nice. It’s a different experience in terms of infrastructure, training intensity and football culture.
What is the best thing about being captain of a football team?
It’s a great honour to represent your country on an international stage, and wearing the armband and leading the side is a great high. It’s a responsibility I cherish.
The person you admire the most?
My father, for the way he brought us up. His values and philosophy of life keep us focused on the job. In football, it is Lionel Messi.
How does Bhutia inspire you?
I see him as a mentor in my footballing career. He always helps junior players, both on and off the field. During the time I shared a dressing room with him, I was always keen on learning a thing or two from him.
Who are your all-time favourite footballers and why?
Brazilian legend Ronaldo. He has always been my favourite as someone who plays in my field position [forward]. He has everything – pace, power, high speed dribbling, and so many goals! Also, the number of comebacks he made after numerous injuries is very inspiring. I would also put [Lionel] Messi and Andrés Iniesta on the list.
Do you follow cricket? Who are your favourite cricketers?
I keenly follow the fortunes of the national team and Mahi [Mahendra Singh Dhoni] as a player.
One song that defines your current state of mind.
Stand up (for the champions) by Right Said Fred.
Your favourite travel destination.
One thing you dislike about your appearance.
I wish I was a couple of inches taller.
Your greatest extravagance.
My new house.
One thing about you that is mostly unknown.
I sleep for 12 hours a day, and sometimes even longer. I can sleep anywhere, at any time.
If you were an ice cream flavour, what would you be?
Chocolate chip cookie.
What can you live in?
Shorts and a T-shirt.
If you have less than a minute, what would you take on a trip?
Dental kit, passport, cash and mobile phone.
What makes your day?
Good food, and a good training session.
How do you destress?
I am a huge PlayStation and FIFA addict and that is how I generally spend my off days.
What touches your heart?
A random act of kindness.
Your favourite fast food.
Fortunately, I am not very fond of fast food.
Your mantra for success.
Enjoy what you do and give it everything you have.
Your fitness fundas.
Train hard and smart, eat right and get adequate rest.
My football fantasies
To play a World Cup for India in India
To help the younger generation in India achieve their footballing dreams
To play forward with Lionel Messi for Barcelona
To improve the perception of India as a footballing nation
Your favourite bollywood actress.
Birthday: August 3
Place of birth: Hyderabad
School/college: Army Public School
From HT Brunch, June 16
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