INDIAN NATIONAL TEAM CAPTAIN Sunil Chhetri can't wait to make his ISL debut, and he is happy to be playing for a Mumbai team for the first time in his career. In a video posted by the official ISL twitter handle, the national team goalscoring record holder has opened up about his upcoming stint in the Ranbir Kapoor co-owned franchise.
Asked what he thought of the celebrity team owner, Chhetri said he was impressed with the Bollywood superstar's commitment to football,
"I was glad to be in his team and so was he. I heard he wants to come and train with us, it's good to be in touch with the owner of the club."
Mumbai City have recently appointed their marquee player Nicolas Anelka as the team's manager as well. Sharing the dressing room with and learning from a player of that calibre is beneficial for other players, as Sunil pointed out when he was asked how he felt about playing with the French star who has plied his trade at Arsenal, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea in the past,
"It's gonna be great, man. I think just being their in training with him is going to give us a lot of experience. Not just me, everyone in Mumbai City will gain that from Anelka being there. I also heard that he is a player cum coach now, so a lot to learn from him. And it's not about a few players to be honest, it's about the whole team."
As for Sunil himself, he stays grounded by always keeping in mind that what drives him is his unconditional love for the game. Money and fame are secondary, he said, stressing on the need to stay true to the sport,
"I still tell myself, don't forget why you started playing football. The money, the fame, the losses... fans getting crazy, happy... all will be there. But the day I forget why I started playing football I probably won't be playing any more. And I wanna tell the kids through your medium to just enjoy, and remember why you started playing this game."
As for the upcoming ISL, Sunil's approach is the same always: to get in and do his best. He assured the fans of his commitment to perform well for Mumbai City,
"My job is to go there and give my best... I just wanna promise you that give everything that I've got."
With the likes of Anelka, Chhetri, Frédéric Piquionne and Sony Norde in the team, Mumbai City have one of the most lethal attacks in the ISL, at least on paper. It's now on Anelka and assistant coach Óscar Bruzón to apply these talented players in an effective way to help Mumbai City put their sub-par debut in the ISL behind, and emerge as a competent title challenger come October.
You can catch the full video right here: