India’s Bhutia retires from international football

Indian striker Bhaichung Bhutia announced his retirement from

international football on Wednesday, ending a 16-year career with

the national team for which he played a record 109 games.

The highest profile player in India, Bhutia scored 43 goals for

India and was part of teams that won the Asian Fooball

Confederation Challenge Cup, Nehru Cup, LG Cup and the South Asian

Football Federation Championship.

”I had a fantastic 16 years of international football,” the

34-year-old Bhutia said. ”I enjoyed every moment to have

represented the country, to have contributed to the game.

”Winning the AFC Challenge Cup in 2008 and qualifying for the

Asian Cup were the best moments of my career and I thought of

retiring after playing in that tournament.”

He became the first Indian to play professional football in

Europe when he signed a three-year contract with Bury FC in 1999.

He also had a short stint with Malaysian football club Perak

FA.

The former India captain has been struggling with a calf injury

in the past year. He played only a limited role at this year’s

Asian Cup and was forced to pull out of an upcoming tour of

England.

Bhutia owns the club team he plays for, United Sikkim. He has

also played for East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and JCT Mills.