New Delhi: Former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia advised Sunil Chhetri to be "mentally strong" as Chhetri, who will be flying to the Iberian country in another two weeks' time, will be drafted into the club's B side initially. Based on his performance, the club will take a call on whether he should be fast-tracked into the main squad.
"It's a mental thing. It's about how strong you are in mind. He has got the game...but 70 per cent of the game is about mind. He is a confident guy, he has to believe in himself to do well," Bhutia said of his one-time striking partner.
"Whether you sign for B, C or D team, if you perform well there is no limit for it. I think the great thing is that he has got the opportunity to play. If he does well in B, he can move up to A," Bhutia told NDTV.
The torchbearer of Indian football believes that Chhetri might inspire a whole generation but he has to perform well first.
"He is going to make a huge impact. Signing for such a great club is the first step, performing well will be the next," said the former captain.
Bhutia also feels that apart from being a great day for the striker himself, it is a huge one for Indian football in general.
"It's absolutely a great day for Sunil and the Indian football. I hope Sunil grabs the opportunity.
"It's a great club and has produced some of the great footballers. Hope he does well. It will benefit the future Indian footballers."
The club that has given the world players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Figo will be home to Indian football's poster boy Sunil Chhetri for the next one year as he has been signed by Sporting Clube de Portugal, popularly known as Sporting Lisbon.