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“Great Loss For Indian Football”: Bhaichung Bhutia’s Emotional Take On Sunil Chhetri’s Retirement

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Batting maestro Virat Kohli, 2011 World Cup hero Yuvraj Singh and former star footballer Bhaichung Bhutia were among the leading sports personalities who lauded Sunil Chhetri’s achievements after the iconic India striker on Thursday announced his decision to retire from international football. Chhetri, the long-serving national team captain announced his decision to call it a day after the FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Kuwait in Kolkata on June 6.

Commenting on Chhetri’s video post on Instagram, Kohli wrote for his good friend: “My brother. Proud.” Yuvrai called him a legend, saying the legacy of the 39-year-old veteran of 150 national appearances will remain for a very long time.

“A real legend of the game who took Indian football onto the global stage. Your passion has inspired a generation to take up the game… your legacy in Indian sports will be remembered forever…you can look back with pride as you get set for your final game, thank you legend,” wrote Yuvraj in an Instagram story.

Chhetri, who made his international debut in 2005, has scored 94 goals for the country. He will leave the scene as India’s all-time top scorer and most-capped player.

Legendary India forward Bhutia, who Chhetri succeeded as captain, told PTI that it was a great loss for Indian football.

“Sunil, no doubt, will go down as one of the greatest players India had ever produced. His contribution to Indian football is immense. It’s a great loss for Indian football,” said Bhutia, the former India captain.

“I am fortunate to have played with him as senior player. When I came in (I M) Vijayan was senior to me, after that Sunil (Chhetri) came. I am fortunate to have served Indian football in between two stalwarts of Indian football,” added Bhutia.

Cricketer Yuzvendra Chahal, member of the India squad for the T20 World Cup, wished Chhetri a “happy retirement”.

“What a run you have had! Congratulations on an amazing career,” wrote Chahal on ‘X’, while Chhetri’s Bengaluru FC and India team-mate, goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, wished he could change his compatriot’s mind.

“Never wanted to see this happen, I wish I could do something to change your mind but I also understand why it is happening bhai. The whole country needs to celebrate your international career on the 6th of June the way you deserve. My Captain,” Sandhu wrote on ‘X’.

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) said Chhetri will continue to motivate the coming generations.

“Your legacy on and off-the-field will always be remembered! You have always been and will continue to inspire us. Thank you.” BCCI termed Chhetri a “phenomenal icon”, saying his “career has been nothing short of extraordinary and you have been a phenomenal icon for Indian football and Indian sports,” while India spinner Kuldeep Yadav congratulated the legend on a “fantastic career”.

IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bengaluru saluted the No. 11 jersey, saying, “What a ride this has been, skipper! 94 international goals, so many laurels, an unbroken conviction and you’ve inspired so many young Indians to dream big. Happy farewell to the No.11 (No.9) but India’s 1,” wrote RCB on ‘X’.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Iga Swiatek Saves Match Point To Beat Naomi Osaka At French Open

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Defending champion Iga Swiatek saved a match point to outlast Naomi Osaka.© AFP




Defending champion Iga Swiatek saved a match point to outlast fellow four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka 7-6 (7/1), 1-6, 7-5 in a breathtaking second-round clash at the French Open on Wednesday. World number one Swiatek trailed 5-2 in the final set but the Pole won the last five games of the match to keep her bid for a third successive Roland Garros title on track.

She is attempting to become only the fourth woman in the Open era to lift four Roland Garros titles and just the second — after Serena Williams — to complete the clay-court treble of Madrid, Rome and French Opens in the same season.

More to follow…

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Bayern Munich Appoint Vincent Kompany To End Long Search For New Coach

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Bayern Munich’s long search to fill their vacant head coaching position is over with the German giants naming Vincent Kompany as manager in a shock move on Wednesday. The 38-year-old Belgian, a surprise choice with his Burnley side relegated from the Premier League this season, has penned a three-year deal at the Allianz Arena. Normally in contention for the biggest names in the business, Bayern have been searching for months but have been knocked back by several candidates after their first trophyless season for 12 years.

After failed attempts to lure Bayer Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso, Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann and Austria’s Ralf Rangnick, Bayern tried to hold onto Thomas Tuchel, who had agreed in February to leave in the summer. 

Tuchel however announced in May he “couldn’t agree on terms” to stay with the club and would “stick to the agreement we had in February”.

Instead, Bayern have decided for Kompany, taking a risk on an inexperienced yet promising candidate in one of the biggest jobs in football. 

“I’m looking forward to the challenge of FC Bayern. It’s a great honour to be able to work for this club – FC Bayern is an institution in international football,” said Kompany in a club statement.

“I’m now looking forward to the basics: working with the players, building a team. Once the basis is right, success will follow.”

Burnley will reportedly receive £10 million ($13 million) in compensation for allowing their manager to leave.

“We understand the allure and prestige of a club like Bayern Munich and respect Vincent’s ambition to explore new opportunities,” Burnley said in a statement.

Alonso 2.0?

After a successful playing career where he captained Manchester City and the Belgian national team, Kompany returned to his first club Anderlecht to begin his managerial career.

He moved to Burnley in 2022 and took them to the Premier League as second-division champions, before crashing back to earth over the past 12 months.

Yet, he crucially retained the support of his old coach at City Pep Guardiola, who advised his former club to go for Kompany due to his leadership qualities and determination to play an attacking brand of football.

“As a coach, you have to stand for what you are as a character,” added Kompany. “I love having the ball, being creative – but we also have to be aggressive and courageous on the pitch.”

Coaching instability has been a feature at Bayern over the past decade and a half, despite their consistent on-field success. 

Guardiola, whose three-year spell in Bavaria ended in 2016, was the last Bayern coach to complete at least two full seasons. 

Used to poaching the best talent from their Bundesliga rivals, Bayern were shunned by Alonso, as he decided to take Leverkusen into the Champions League next season.

However, recreating the Spaniard’s success in Germany looks to have been on the minds of the Bayern board.

Like Alonso, Kompany is a disciple of Guardiola and speaks German thanks to his spell at Hamburg as a player.

But his transition into coaching has not been as smooth as the Leverkusen boss.

He finished third and fourth in his two full seasons at Anderlecht before overseeing Burnley’s lowest ever points tally in the English top-flight to finish second bottom of the Premier League this season.

Kompany, who is the same age as Bayern captain Manuel Neuer, now has a mammoth task ahead of him in reviving Bayern’s on-field fortunes, not to mention navigating the club’s complex backroom politics, which have derailed more experienced coaches.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Carlos Alcaraz Survives Scare At French Open

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Carlos Alcaraz survived a huge scare at the hands of 176th-ranked Jesper de Jong.© AFP




World number three Carlos Alcaraz survived a huge scare at the hands of 176th-ranked Dutch qualifier Jesper de Jong to reach the third round after a four-set triumph on Wednesday. Wimbledon champion Alcaraz, who made the semi-finals at Roland Garros last year, scrambled to a 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 second round victory over a player taking part in only his second Grand Slam main draw. The 21-year-old Spaniard was broken five times and hit 47 unforced errors before De Jong, playing his fifth match at the tournament, eventually wilted under the roof of Court Phillipe Chatrier.

“Every player can cause you trouble,” said Alcaraz.

“You have to be focussed in every round, have to play at your best, it doesn’t matter what the ranking is. Jesper has the work and level to break into the top 100.”

Alcaraz goes on to face either American 27th seed Sebastian Korda or South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo for a place in the last 16.

Despite being broken in the second game of the opening set, Alcaraz broke three times himself to grab the advantage.

The battling Dutchman then saved eight break points over the course of the second set before the Spaniard found the killer blow.

However, Alcaraz, who arrived at the tournament under an injury cloud after sitting out the Rome Open with a right arm problem, went off the boil in the third set.

He committed 15 unforced errors to the Dutchman’s five as the qualifier cut the deficit.

Alcaraz then twice had to come back from breaks early in the fourth set before running away with the last four games to triumph.

 

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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