Bengaluru FC head coach Carles Cuadrat has heaped praise on club captain Sunil Chhetri and hopes that the 36-year-old will continue to lead by example, ahead of the seventh season of the Indian Super League (ISL).
The Spanish mastermind, entering his fifth season with the club (third as head coach), spoke to The Bridge to discuss Bengaluru’s preparations and objectives for the upcoming ISL campaign. When asked about Chhetri’s role in the team, Cuadrat replied:
“Sunil is an example for everyone. You cannot imagine how it helps new players from day one to acquire good work habits and consistency in their performance.”
Chhetri has played integral roles in every campaign the Blues have featured in since their inception, be it the I-League or the ISL. With 92 goals across all major competitions, he is the club’s all-time leading goal scorer and there’s no doubt that he will be pushing himself to breach the three figure mark this ISL.
He is also the highest scorer among Indians in the ISL with 39 goals in 74 appearances. Last season, the national team captain found the back of the net 9 times in 17 matches as Bengaluru made it to the playoffs before losing out to eventual champions ATK FC.
Apart from being the talismanic striker that he is, Chhetri is also a leader who — as has been well documented — leads by example, both on and off the pitch, something that Cuadrat hopes that he will continue to do in what will be his eighth season at the club.
“I hope that he continues to be that captain who leads by example,” the 52-year-old head coach said. “And that he continues to give the team that capacity for defensive work, something in which he has improved a lot these last 2 seasons, and of course that good number of goals that have allowed him to be the Indian top scorer in ISL history.”
Amid the ongoing pandemic, with matches being played behind closed doors, teams staying within a secure bubble, and what not, it is going to be a vastly different season. But as is the norm, expectations are high on Chhetri. Can he deliver like always?
Bengaluru FC kick off their campaign against last season’s table toppers FC Goa on Novemvber 22nd, 2020.