New Delhi, July 5 (IBNS): Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri made history by signing with Sporting Clube de Portugal's B team as the first Indian player in an European club, and the star footballer said he will give his best while playing for the top outfit on foreign soil.
"I will not let anyone down. I will give my best," Chhetri said on Thursday.
"I have to do a lot of hard work. I know that. I will give my best. I will not let go off this opportunity," he said.
"I will make sure that when I am 40, I will not say that I did not give my hundred percent while playing in Portugal," he said.
Chhetri will join Sporting Clube de Portugal's B team, which plays in the Liga de Honra, the second division football in that country.
"With the aim of breaking ground in one of FIFA’s most highly regarded markets, where more than 20 million players apply their trade, Sporting has put pen to paper with the Indian national team captain, Sunil Chhetri, who will now join up with the Club’s reserve side," the club said in a statement.
Sporting Clube de Portugal said it has officially opened its doors to the Indian market.
Meanwhile, Indian football legend Baichung Bhutia told NDTV: "He has to do well for himself. Once he does well, that will have a good impact."
"He will have the oppurtunity to show his talent," he said.
The Portuguese club is now pushing forward with a series of partnerships that make the most of Sporting’s success in the area of youth training.
Sporting Clube de Portugal has long been recognised for its expertise in producing some of the world’s most notable stars, which was further reinforced by Portugal’s superb showing in Euro 2012, it said.
Chhetri started his football career playing for school teams and then for his local club, City Club. Since then, he has represented I-League clubs Mohun Bagan, East Bengal Club and JCT FC.
Sunil had earlier signed a three-year contract with Queen's Park Rangers in Aug 2009 but a work permit was rejected by the UK government.
At international level, Chhetri has represented India in the Nehru Cup, the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup.
He received much media attention after scoring a hat-trick in the final of the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup.
Watch Sunil Chhetri, the captain of the Indian football team and the Brand Ambassador for airtel RISING STARS talk about his incredible journey in the world of football!