India striker Sunil Chhetri will join Portuguese giants Sporting Clube de Portugal (also known as Sporting Lisbon). Sunil will join Sporting’s B Team at initial stage to get used to the team, country and style of football.
“It is a real pleasure for me and an exciting moment in my career to join a European giant like Sporting Lisbon,” Sunil told. “I have dreamt of this day and always believed that my time will come. It is now a reality. Sporting Lisbon, my agent Yogesh Joshee from Matchworld and Football One has made it possible for me and I will make it count for India. Thank you so much.”
The deal had been arranged by Football One, the football arm of new Wizcraft International Entertainment venture Sports One.
“Football One is partnering with Sporting Club de Portugal to support the development of football in India. Our first initiative in this partnership is to facilitate the movement of Sunil Chhetri to play at Sporting Clube de Portugal for the coming season,” Ashok Rajgopal (CEO, Football One) stated. “We are excited to have the Indian football captain playing for one of the top clubs in Portugal, one that has produced some of the top players in international football today.”
“We are keen to support the development of football in India. We along with our partners Football One, are looking at ways in which we can leverage the technical knowledge and coaching expertise that resides within the club to support Indian football,” Luiz Godinho Lopes (President, Sporting Clube de Portugal) said. “We will align our efforts with that of AIFF and the vision of its President, to raise the level of the game here in India. We are here for the long term and our signing on Sunil Chhetri is the first of our initiatives.”
Sunil Chhetri is the second professional footballer from India to join an European club after legendary India captain Baichung Bhutia signed a deal with English outfit Bury FC in 1999. Sunil had a short spell with MLS side Sporting Kansas City in the 2010/11 season, before he returned to India to join the national team preparations for the AFC Asian Cup 2012.
The Indian star striker is looking forward to impress the coaching staff at Sporting with the aim to get a promotion to the A Team in the near future.
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