Abuse us, criticise us but please come and watch us play: Sunil Chhetri’s heartfelt plea

Sunil Chhetri, one of the greatest footballers that India has produced, on Saturday made an impassioned plea to all the fans of Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Cristiano Ronaldo — “abuse us, criticise us but please come to watch the Indian national team play.”

With less than two weeks left for World Cup football to begin and broadcasters urging fans of the ‘beautiful game’ to profess their love for their “doosri country” via hashtags, country’s all-time highest goal-getter demanded some love and affection for their ‘first country’.

India, who have improved their ranking to 97 in current Fifa chart

Routed Chinese Taipei 5-0 on Friday in the opening game of the four-nation tournament with less than 2000 fans watching from the stands.

The skipper who scored his third international hat-trick in-front of a near-empty Mumbai Football Arena (MFA) stands, had a message for all the resident ‘Gooners’, ‘Red Devils’ and ‘Catalans’, for whom Arsenal, Manchester United and Barcelona means “we”.

Don’t think I’m an inspiration to international players: Chhetri

“To all of you who are fans of big European clubs and support European clubs. With so much passion and sometimes. You guys think that the level is not the same. So why do you waste your time? Agreed, the level is not the same. Not even close but with our desire and determination. We will try our best to make your time worth. Chhetri’s plea was not only about accepting. Where they stand but also what little they want from the fans.

“To all of you, who have lost hope or don’t have any hope in Indian football. We request you to come and watch us in the stadium.” The skipper said.

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