Indian national football team captain Sunil Chhetri has come a long way from being a bright young kid to becoming an ace football player. Chhetri, who made his international debut at the age of 20, is currently the leading goal scorer for the country and third in the list of active goal scorers in the international arena with only Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of him.
Sunil Chhetri has played his landmark 100th international game for the country on June 4 where he again struck twice to power India into the final of the Intercontinental Cup with a convincing 3-0 win over Kenya in Mumbai. No wonder, Chhetri has been in sensational form scoring consistently. He scored his third international hat-trick on June 2 where India demolished Chinese Taipei with a 5-0 win.
But do you know that Sunil Chhetri’s journey to the pinnacle of Indian football was not an easy one?
As a child, Chettri, who comes from a humble background, was deprived of certain luxuries in life. He had to go through a lot of hardship before he earned his place in the national team. At one point in time, he even had to steal money from his own house to meet his needs.
In an interview to his Bengaluru FC, Sunil Chhetri opened up about his childhood life, his interest to become a cricketer and his early days in football.
Chhetri also revealed how he once had to steal money from his own house after his mother denied him Rs 50 which he desperately needed. In his own words:
“My father was in Army and we had a humble background. We weren’t poor but come 20th of every month, things started looking a little bit tough. I didn’t have shoes sometimes or didn’t had enough money to go for a trial or didn’t have enough money to take care of my diet. But all these things look relevant now. At those times, I wasn’t bothered.
My father used to cycle till the bus stop and he used to give me the exact change. And I was a cheat, I sometimes used to keep the money in my pocket and not buy tickets. I used to steal money. I asked my mum, ‘I want 50 bucks’. She said, ‘no chance’. I was so desperate that I stole the 50 bucks. She came to know, of course. She tied me to a chair and gave me the beating of my life for 2 hours.”
After his mother beat him for stealing the money, she said something and it changed Chettri’s life forever.
“After 2 hours, she went to her room and she started crying. Then I got really scared. She held me and she said, ‘I’m so sorry that we can’t fulfill your needs that we’re making a thief out of our son’. And that’s something that really shook me. That’s something that really changed things for me. Then I realized that I cannot act like a mischievous, stupid kid,” explained the Indian skipper.
You can watch the full interview here:
Every successful and great man has a great turning point once in their life!