Talismanic football striker Sunil Chhetri has been an inspiration for millions of youngsters in India who want to make a career in football. With 70 goals to his name, he is currently the second highest active international goal scorer in the world.
Chhetri, who recently won the AIFF Player of the Year for a record sixth time, has revealed that he draws inspiration from six-time world boxing champion Mary Kom.
In an interview with AIFF, Chhetri was asked about his source of motivation, to which he replied: "I gather from motivation around me -- from a lot of personalities who have done well in their respective fields."
"MC Mary Kom is one of them. She is an unbelievable story. She is a six-time world champion and has been a world champion after giving birth to twins, and even after being a mother of three.
"Besides, she has 14 gold medals in all, including the Asian Games, the Asian Championships, the CWG Games, and others. If she doesn't inspire India, who else will? I am her biggest fan."
The India captain further revealed that Mary's "never die attitude" is something for which he respects her a lot.
"Her never say die attitude. Nothing is too late, everything is possible. There are phases in life which surface at times, and it makes you understand that despite you working hard, everything what you are doing is probably not enough. That's when you need to look around, and beyond. You need to look at what other people are doing. A prime example stays Mary Kom. That's when the understanding creeps up -- that you need to push yourself more."
The 34-year-old is ahead of Argentina legend Lionel Messi when it comes to active goal scorers in international football. He is now only second to the Portuguese powerhouse Cristiano Ronaldo, who has 88 goals to his name.
Chhetri further said that in the footballing world, he draws inspiration from the duo.
"There are two gentlemen named Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi. In the last 10-11 years they have completely dominated the world of football," Chhetri said.
"If they don't score in two-three matches, people start speaking that 'they are out of form.' Whenever I am stressed or tired, I always think about these guys. And it falls into place for me."
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