Only the third Indian footballer to play outside the country, Sunil Chhetri said he took to football only to get entry into a good college and never thought of earning a livelihood out of the game.
“I was 16 when I played a youth tournament. I came back and Mohun Bagan, one of the major clubs in our country, signed me. I never knew how much you can earn and what kind of career you can have from soccer. Once I joined Bagan, I never looked back," he told the official MLS website.
Chhetri followed in the footsteps of Mohammad Salim and Bhaichung Bhutia to play professional football outside the country, hoping his joining KC Wizards would pave the way for other Indians to play abroad.
“I think if not MLS and Europe, there are a lot of places players can go and perform. They can go to Australia, a place like Qatar or Japan where they have great facilities. For football to prosper, the infrastructure is not there (in India). They can see how far they can go with proper facilities. There is a lot of talent in our country. But the right nourishment at the right age is what we lack.”
Benitez looks to erase first leg deficit
Rafael Benitez expects Liverpool to produce another memorable Anfield comeback in their Europa League semifinal second leg against Atletico Madrid on Thursday. Benitez’s side lost the first leg 1-0 at the Vicente Calderon Stadium last week but the Reds boss is convinced they can erase that deficit. “I have a lot of confidence of playing at Anfield, in our players and in our fans,” he said. “We had a lot of fans behind the team and at Anfield we will have more of them,” he said.
Brazil overtake Spain as No. 1
Brazil reclaimed top spot from Spain in the FIFA rankings on Wednesday, returning to No. 1 for the seventh time since their inception in 1993 and ending the five-month reign of the European champions.