Indian football legend and current national team captain Sunil Chhetri has opened up on the role played by his parents in his journey to become one of the greatest icons in the Blue Tigers' football's history.
While recently on tour in the UAE for the AFC Asian Cup, Chhetri was part of a heart-to-heart interview with the Times of Oman in which he revealed everything about his evolution to become what he is today.
Speaking about how his ambitions wavered in his childhood, the Indian captain started by stating, "There was a time when I wanted to be a cricketer, and Sachin (Tendulkar) was huge at that time, but it kept changing, you know."
He continued, "After one week, you want to become Leander Paes, who is a legend in our country in tennis, and suddenly, after one week, you wanted to be Baichung Bhutia, so it kept changing every week, just like any normal kid."
Talking about how his parents understood this aspect of his ambition, Chhetri pointed out, "Thankfully, my parents understood it, and both me and my sister well allowed to express ourselves and say what we felt."
Revealing his idol in life, Chhetri said, "If I have to take one name, I think my father, he would be the one that I always look up to, the one I always wanted to be like. He had a great influence, he had the right way of being a father at the time I needed a father, a guide, a friend, a critic, and he has done it brilliantly from then on and still continues to do so.”
Finally, on being asked about his footballing and sporting idols, Chhetri revealed as he concluded, '(Hidetoshi)Nakata was huge, man, he was one of the first ones to go abroad. Ali Karimi was huge, Ali Daei was huge, but for us, it was more about domestic football. In my family, we are huge fans of IM Vijayan and Bhaichung Bhutia. Ronaldo, I was a big fan of, as well as Thierry Henry (and) Ruud van Nistelrooy. My mum was a big Steffi Graf fan, and we used to watch different sports also.”
Pretty sure that Chhetri would be one of those players every current and future Indian footballer will look up to in the time to come!