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Record-breaking India captain Sunil Chhetri to quit international football

India’s record goal scorer and most capped player says it’s time for the country to see ‘the next number nine’ in an emotional video announcing his retirement.

India captain Sunil Chhetri says he will retire from international football, ending a record-breaking career for his country spanning two decades.

Chhetri, the country’s most prolific scorer, will retire after the World Cup qualifier against Kuwait on June 6, the 39-year-old announced on Thursday.

Chhetri has been the face of Indian football for nearly a decade-and-a-half and his 94 international goals make him the third-highest active international goal scorer after Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

“It was not that I was feeling tired,” Chhetri said in a video he posted on social media.

“When the instinct came this should be my last game, I thought about it a lot and eventually I came to this decision.

“Will I be sad after this? Of course … the kid inside me never wants to stop if given a chance to play for his country.”

“It’s time for our country to see the next number nine.”

India play Kuwait while being second in qualifying Group A with four points, behind Qatar.

“The game against Kuwait demands pressure, we need the three points to qualify for the next round. It’s hugely important for us,” the skipper said.

“But in a strange way, I don’t feel the pressure because these 15-20 days with the national team and the match against Kuwait is the last,” he added.

He scored a penalty in India’s most recent outing, a 2-1 World Cup qualifying defeat to Afghanistan in March.

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) heaped praises on the retiring captain in response to his announcement on social media.

“Your legacy on and off-the-field will always be remembered,” AIFF