Says the award will motivate him to work harder

Indian skipper Sunil Chhetri on Saturday said being in the elite list of former footballers to be honoured with the Padma award makes him a bit “nervous” and brings “extra pressure” to strive for excellence.

Chhetri, the second highest goal-getter (among current players) in internationals after Cristiano Ronaldo, was among the nine sportspersons to be honoured with the Padma Shri award.

“At the moment, it’s just pure happiness. It hasn’t sunk in as yet. I need some time to feel it. I need some time to understand what the recognition actually means,” said Chhetri.

“Every person has flaws, so do I. I understand it and strive to be a better version of myself — a better human being. I feel I need to set a better example to others. On that perspective, I am loving that extra pressure which has come with this Padma Shri announcement.”

  • Chhetri is the sixth footballer after late Gostho Paul, late Sailen Manna, P.K. Banerjee, Chuni Goswami and Bhaichung Bhutia to be honoured with the award

Chhetri is the sixth footballer after the late Gostho Paul, late Sailen Manna, P.K. Banerjee, Chuni Goswami and Bhaichung Bhutia to be honoured with the prestigious award.

“I am aware of the aura all of them possess. It was my dad who had educated me about their exploits much before I became a professional. Being in the same club as them is a feeling which I can’t express, it can make you nervous,” Chhetri said.

“It is also a reminder to me on what I need to do, all in my effort to improve every minute as a footballer.”

Chhetri said it will motivate him to work harder.

“As a player, I need to keep working hard. There’s no alternative to that.

“No award can make you a better player unless you strive to be one,” he said.

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