Sunil Chhetri, the Indian football team captain, has joined Portugal’s premiere club, Sporting Clube de Portugal (also known as Sporting Lisbon and Sporting CP), for the next two seasons.

Sporting Lisbon is one of the top three clubs in Portugal, besides FC Porto and Benfica (Lisbon). With football players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, Luis Figo among others who have come out of the club’s football academy, it is considered as one of top academies in the world today.

“With the aim of breaking ground in one of FIFA’s most highly regarded markets, where more than 20 million players apply their trade, Sporting has put pen to paper with the Indian national team captain, Sunil Chhetri, who will now join up with the Club’s reserve side,” the club said on its Web site. Sunil Chhetrri will play with the club’s “B” team (SCP B) for two seasons.

The signing is part of the club’s agreement with Indian football authorities to develop the game.

“The Club is now pushing forward with a series of partnerships that make the most of Sporting’s success in the area of youth training,” its Web site read.

Sunil had an earlier stint abroad where he played for the Kansas City Wizards (now called Sporting Kansas) in the US ‘Major League Soccer’ in March 2010. He had earlier undergone trials for Coventry City and Glasgow Rogers.

Former Indian football skipper, Baichung Bhutia had been transferred to FC Bury , the then Division Two (third tier of English football) in summer 1999 on a three-year contract.

abhishek.l@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on July 5, 2012)
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