Indian Super League club, Kerala Blasters on Thursday retired defender Sandesh Jhingan's jersey number 21, after he parted ways with the club on Wednesday.
The gesture was done as a tribute to the inspiring defender who was with the club since the ISL’s inaugural season in 2014.
"We would like to take this opportunity to thank Sandesh for his commitment, loyalty, and passion for the club and its supporters. KBFC respects Sandesh's desire to pursue a new challenge and we wish him all the best for this new journey," club owner Nikhil Bharadwaj said, thanking Jhingan.
"We know that he will always remain a Blaster at heart. As a tribute to his contributions to the club, we will be permanently retiring his jersey number 21," said Bharadwaj.
National football team defensive lynchpin Jhingan left Kerala Blasters after spending six years with the Indian Super League club.
Jhingan, who has earned 36 caps for India since making his debut in 2015, and the Blasters mutually agreed to part ways ahead of the upcoming ISL season, according to club sources.
"Yes, Sandesh is no longer with the club. It was under mutual agreement," the source told PTI.
The 26-year-old Jhingan had been a rock at the centre of Blasters' defence since the club's inception in 2014, helping them reach the ISL final twice (2014 and 2016).
The Chandigarh-born Jhingan, a hugely popular figure among the Blasters' fans, made 76 appearances for the club.
He, however, missed the whole of the 2019-20 ISL season due to an injury. Without Jhingan, the Blasters finished seventh out of 10 teams.
Kerala Blasters have appointed Mohun Bagan's I-League winning coach Kibu Vicuna for the upcoming season.