Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sunil Chhetri joins Sporting Lisbon

In a somewhat surprising turn of events, Indian national team captain Sunil Chhetri is now set to don the famous Green and White colours of of the B team of the Portuguese club next season, which plays in the Liga de Honra,which is Portuguese second division.

Chhetri said, "It is a real pleasure for me and an exciting moment in my career to join a European giant like Sporting Lisbon. I have dreamt of this day and always believed that my time will come. It is now a reality. Sporting Lisbon, my agent Yogesh Joshee from Matchworld and Football One has made it possible for me and I will make it count for India. Thank you so much."

club's website, with a press release stating, "We have reached out to Indian football, aiming at its development in a market estimated by FIFA, to be of more than 20 million players, and in this context, Sunil Chhetri, captain of the Indian Football Association, an idol in that country, who symbolizes the dreams of all young players who aspire to play in Europe, will join the roster of the team "B". With our experience in detecting and developing top players, we are ready, together with local partners, to find the best solutions to accelerate the development of football in India and find values that young people are likely to integrate in other stages of formation. A demonstration of the quality of our services reflects on our business value in one of the world’s most emerging markets."

The striker, who had quite a disappointing season with Mohun Bagan last time around but was in stellar form for the nation in the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship, got the opportunity thanks to Football One, the football arm of new Wizcraft International Entertainment venture Sports One, who helped facilitate the transfer, giving the striker the opportunity to play in the Portuguese SuperLiga.

This is the club which has produde two of the best football players of recent time. Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani. Sporting Clube de Portugal, who are one of the traditional powerhouses of the game in Portugal alongside Benfica and Porto, have also partnered with Football One with the objective to help develop the game in India and groom the talent of young starlets coming through the ranks in India.

P.S.: I don't know if it will help him or not or this is another marketing thing.  He plays in second division which is where he can get more playing time rather than only making up in squad like his last stint in MLS. Lets hope he can do better this time not for himself but for Indain football.