Sunil Chhetri extended his contract with Bengaluru FC till the end of the 2020-21 season on Tuesday giving another indication that he would end his storied club career at a place he has called home since 2013.
By the time this deal ends, Chhetri, adjudged India’s best player for 2017-18 by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Sunday, will be months shy of turning 37.
Currently out of India on vacation, Chhetri will join Bengaluru FC for pre-seasons in Spain on August 1. He will return to India on August 15, one week before their AFC Cup inter-zonal semi-finals against Turkmenistan’s Altyn Asyr FC. To be played on a home-and-away basis, the double-leg tie will be played on August 22 and August 29.
“I have always said that this club and these fans have been the most fantastic experience of my life and signing a new deal here is only a way of giving back to a club that has given so much to me. I’ve made some fantastic memories here and I believe there are many more to make,” said Chhetri in a media release issued by the club on Tuesday.
Chhetri, who has been with Bengaluru FC since their inception in 2013, is the club’s highest scorer with 71 goals in 144 games. He is also India’s highest scorer in international football with 64 goals in 101 games. He is set to be the only Indian to have played two Asian Cup, the continent’s highest international competition, when India play the 2019 finals next January in the UAE.
“It’s special to have Sunil Chhetri play for us. He is, by far, the fittest player around and he has proven so many times that age is just a number. We are excited to have Sunil the player, more excited to have Sunil the leader and most excited to have Sunil the enigma. His hunger, desire and passion is immense and he is the torchbearer of Indian football. For us, the club was built around Sunil and continues to do so. We hope he stays for as long as possible at BFC in the capacity of a player and beyond,” said Parth Jindal, CEO of Bengaluru FC.