Mumbai City FC footballer Sunil Chhetri is excited to be a part of the Indian Super League (ISL). He expressed his excitement by saying that he cannot wait to play alongside Nicolas Anelka, who was retained by the Mumbai franchise.
"He's a legend and I am going to learn as much as I can from him. I am excited and cannot wait to play alongside him. About what aspect of the game will I pick his brains on, I'll have to gauge and decide!" Chhetri said in an interview to The Times of India.
The Bengaluru FC players had missed out on the first edition of the ISL because of their club commitments but this year 10 Indian players were up for grabs at the auction. Sunil Chhetri bagged the maximum amount, which was a little above Rs 1 crore mark. When he was asked about his value, he said he was not disappointed instead he was happy to be a part of Mumbai City FC, which is owned by flim star Ranbir Kapoor.
"I have heard stories of how the Cooperage used to be packed to capacity back in the days. Then there was the impressive Mahindra United team that caught everyone's imagination. So yes, the city does have a legacy and I'm proud to be finally playing for a Mumbai-based club. I've played all around the country but never Mumbai. That's about to change now and it's exciting to say the least.
"I would like to believe it will give us an advantage but time will tell. At Bengaluru FC, we are a very closely knit team - on the pitch and off it to. There's an unsaid understanding and it plays a vital part. Let's hope we can carry it forward for Mumbai City FC," Chhetri added.
Chhetri never took part in an auction before this. He said that it was exciting to be a part of something which is new.
"It was amusing and exciting at the same time. I've never been part of something like it before and it was interesting to sit behind the scenes and watch all the drama unfold. It's funny how, at one moment you could be playing for a city in one corner of the country and the very next, somewhere else!" Chhetri said.
Chhetri also heaped praises on his I-League team Bengaluru FC. The star Indian footballer said it did help him and his colleagues at the Bengaluru FC to usher. He was not surprised with the amount of money the franchises shelled out for his colleagues as well.
"Bengaluru FC has done all of us a world of good, more so the younger lot who have grown by leaps and bounds. I was not surprised at all when Eugene (Lyngdoh), Rino (Anto) and Thoi (Singh) were bought at the numbers that made the newspaper headlines. The teams which bid for them had been following their progress which is why they felt no discomfort is paying what they did for these boys," Chhetri concluded.