Sunil Chhetri on the cusp of breaking another record

Sunil Chhetri is tied on 107 matches with his mentor Bhaichung Bhutia, and the 34-year-old has no plans to stop.

Sunil Chhetri training during the Indian team's preparatory camp ahead of the King's Cup in Thailand.   -  AIFF Media

Sunil Chhetri is just a match away from being the most-capped Indian international.

India's talismanic striker who has 67 International goals - the highest-ever by an Indian footballer - is tied on 107 matches with his mentor Bhaichung Bhutia, and the 34-year-old has no plans to stop.

“It may sound strange, but I am the fittest in my life at the moment. It’s a bit weird when I say this, but it’s true,” he narrates. “I think the knowledge and discipline is the highest in my life right now, in terms of taking risk, in terms of having the right food, and in terms of training, and that’s probably why I am this fit,” said Chhetri on Saturday during a media interaction on the last day of the Indian team's preparatory camp ahead of the King’s Cup in Thailand.

“I have never got time to sit back and think about how much I have achieved. I am just happy that I am playing for my country, happy that I am training. What’s really good is that I am really enjoying now,” he said. “I don’t take it too seriously. I don’t get carried away. Such moments won’t last forever. I want to enjoy every bit of it.”

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Chhetri prefers to play down his special achievement. “I never think about 100+ games, the number of goals I have scored. All of that is kept aside for talks after I retire,” he said.

“I feel proud when people around me keep reminding me that every record is in your name, and here we are talking about a country’s history. For someone who never even dreamt of playing for his country, or even of making it professionally, it’s unbelievable.”

Chhetri praised new head coach Igor Stimac's open-mindedness and man-management skills.

“It’s been 7-8 days of training, and what the players have been really happy about is the coach’s tactical, and technical knowledge where we understand things, and improve ourselves.

READ | Jobby Justin: Stimac making players physically and mentally stronger

"Stimac’s man management has been exceptional as he talks to everyone. He is open minded. Players can go and talk to him anytime. It also helps as he was a player. So a lot of times when he talks to you, you realise that he too understands what a player goes through, and his needs.

“It’s all synchronised.”

“A lot of minute things like changing a timing here and there, or a little more time in the treatment room - he understands it perfectly.”

India departs for Buriram on Sunday. The squad will stay a night in Bangkok, before boarding the flight to Buriram the next morning.

The Blue Tigers play their first match in the King’s Cup against Curacao on June 5.

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