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I don't celebrate outrageously, says Chhetri after third 'trick'

June 02, 2018 12:33 IST

Sunil Chhetri

IMAGE: Sunil Chettri gets into position to score the first of his three goals against Chinese Taipei. Photograph: AIFF Media

Captain Sunil Chettri starred in India's 5-0 victory over Chinese Taipei, registering his third career-hat-trick, but the feat did not invoke wild celebrations from the striker, as he is someone who does not like to "celebrate outrageously" on the field.

The match against Chinese Taipei at the Mumbai Football Arena on Friday night also marked a 99th cap for Chhetri, who also scored his 59th international goal.

"I am very happy when I score. I do not take it for granted. I am very fortunate to score so many goals for my club and country. I am very happy from inside. It's just that I don't celebrate outrageously like Robin Singh,” Chhetri said, at the post-match press conference.


Hosts India made a positive start to its campaign at the Intercontinental Cup with a rousing victory over Chinese Taipei.

Admitting that he takes his goals very seriously, Chhetri said he will burst into wild celebrations if he scores against Bahrain in the AFC Asian Cup.

“A goal at the Asian Games, at the Asian Cup, a goal that might help us qualify against Bahrain are goals that might rouse a more wild celebration. I will jump and hug and shout and come and hug somebody,” Chhetri said.

"Right now though, Udanta (Singh) comes to my mind. I am very fond of him and he scored his first goal today so I went up and said 'congratulations kid' and he said '58 to go'. So I take my goals very seriously and the day I score against Bahrain and we qualify; trust me, I will jump!" added the 33-year-old.    

IMAGE: Sunil Chettri is chased by Chinese Taipei defenders as he breaks into the box to score. Photograph: AIFF Media

Jeje Lalpekhlua set up Chhetri's first two goals on Friday night and the skipper said he shares an excellent rapport with the forward from Mizoram.

"We have played many games together. He (Jeje) is supremely talented. He is very experienced, knowledgeable and works so hard on his game. He is somebody who I respect a lot and is one of our best players.

"So it is not difficult to combine with him and I have done my best to help him and he does the same," Chhetri said, when quizzed about his partnership with Jeje.

Asked how he feels about the possibility of many youngsters across India and the world looking up to him as a role model, he was modest in his reply.

"I don't look at my career as someone to follow because I (am) busy worrying about my own stuff right now. I don't think I am at that stature (where) people, especially from other countries would follow me, if they do, then I am obliged and privileged.

"We are talking like this because we won 5-0. If we had lost then you would have abused me. Maybe in 20 years when I have retired we can think about this and how many people I have inspired or motivated,: he said.

Come Monday, at the Andheri Sports Complex, Chhetri will play his 100th international game, against Kenya.

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