IM Vijayan, Bhaichung Bhutia and Sunil Chhetri — The storm Indian football never got to see
Vijayan, Bhaichung Bhutia and Chhetri — arguably, three of modern India's greatest footballers — never played together.
"It would have been amazing had we three played together...we would have raised a storm," the legendary IM Vijayan told current Indian national football captain Sunil Chhetri in an Instagram session on Sunday.
Vijayan, Bhaichung Bhutia and Chhetri — arguably, three of modern India's greatest footballers — never played together. While Bhutia has played alongside Vijayan as well as Chhetri, the latter two were separated by a small generation gap.
In fact, younger Indian football fans might never have seen Vijayan, the Black Buck, in action. His playing career, which was was mostly before football began being broadcasted nationwide, concluded just when Chhetri was rising to prominence.
"It was great to play with Bhaichung but it's sad that I could never play with you," Vijayan told Chhetri before adding how spectacular it would have been had the trio played together, they would have been unstoppable.
Chhetri also rued the fact that he never got the chance to play alongside Vijayan before proceeding to ask him why, like himself and Bhutia, Vijayan didn't pursue a career abroad. "Things weren't so professional then. There was no one to guide me. Today, you have the opportunity to ask a few people before making a decision. I had to take my decisions alone. I don't know what would have happened had I gone out," Vijayan replied.
The 51-year-old former star, who is still a force to be reckoned with in Kerala Sevens football, further explained how the circumstances have improved from his time with so many support staff and people associated with each team. "I remember there was a time when we had to carry hot water in bottles to the practice ground," he said.