Legendary Indian strikers IM Vijayan and Sunil Chhetri got together for a free-wheeling live chat on Instagram on Sunday, May 10, where the former spoke at length about a number of topics – which included an invaluable piece of advice for budding footballers.
“It is a simple thing. Life is short and your football-playing time is short. You play football with your feet but you should not let it go to your head – otherwise, it can be a dangerous fall,” stated Vijayan, as he emphasised on the importance of being grounded and added that the same is applicable for people across all walks of life.
Vijayan, who turned 51 last month, praised Chhetri for his longevity and his dedication towards the game and called upon youngsters to look up to the 35-year-old marksman as a proper role model.
Addressing Chhetri, Vijayan said: “I follow your matches and the dedication and resolve with which you play for your club and country is brilliant. The number of matches you have played for India and the number of goals you have scored – it’s a huge achievement.”
“I have spoken to many youngsters and upcoming players including Sahal (Abdul Samad) and Ashique (Kuruniyan), and I tell them to look at you. The way you play and the things you do — I ask them to take you as an example,” he continued.
Chhetri spoke about Vijayan’s humility as well and mentioned that he played football “purely” for the love of the sport.
“If you want to see a humble example of a superstar, here it is (Vijayan). If you want to see someone who played the game purely because he loved it, here it is. If you want to see someone who is brilliant in every way and yet so down-to-earth, here it is,” Chhetri stated to the viewers.
He also recollected a memory of watching one special IM Vijayan goal in 2005, saying, “Vijayan was playing for Churchill Brothers at the time. I was watching the game and he came on a substitute. He didn’t look quite fit but there was a cross and there were two defenders, but he took the ball on his chest and back-volleyed it into the top corner, from outside the penalty box.”
“The way he used to score goals used to amaze everyone. He was an absolute pleasure to watch. He is by far the most skilful and innovative player I have seen,” Chhetri added.