Siliguri: After becoming India's highest international goal scorer here on Tuesday, football captain Sunil Chhetri thanked former skipper Bhaichung Bhutia for guiding him in his early career.
Chhetri scored his 43rd goal in national colours in India's 2-0 victory over Nepal in an international friendly here today to go past Bhaichung's record of 42 goals.
"Bhaichung bhai congratulated me urging me score more. I stay thankful to him. He has guided me to become what I am today," Chhetri said at the post-match press conference.
"In fact, I am very much grateful to (former India players) Renedy Singh, Deepak Mondal, Samir Naik, Climax Lawrence, Mahesh Gawli and all for helping me during the initial phase of my career," he said.
Chhetri also thanked all his teammates and the support staff for helping him reach the feat.
"Without you all, this would not have been possible. It's yours more than mine," he said.
National coach Wim Koevermans congratulated Chhetri for overtaking Bhaichung and emerging as India's highest-ever goal scorer.
"I congratulate him. He deserves it. He scored it in front of his home crowd. It's a historic moment for Indian football," Koevermans said.
Talking about the performance his players, Koevermans said, "We saw an outstanding performance by Indian national team. We were top of Nepal for the entire 90 minutes and the boys deserve every bit of the applause."
"We created a lot of chances all throughout. Two even hit the post. The brand of football was for all to see. It feels nice to end the year on a high. There were some new faces who have been drafted into the squad and all of them rose to the occasion."
Koevermans' Nepal counterpart Jack Stefanowski conceded that "India came up with a very good performance".