Delhi, July 5: Portuguese giants Sporting Clube de Portugal, also known as Sporting Lisbon, has signed a two-year deal with Indian national team captain Sunil Chhetri for their reserve team.
Forward Chhetri and All India Football Federation president Praful Patel confirmed the news on Thursday.
An ecstatic Chhetri said his dream of playing for a top European club has been finally fulfilled.
“It is a real pleasure for me and an exciting moment in my career to join a European giant like Sporting Lisbon. I have dreamt of this day and always believed that my time will come. It is now a reality. I will make it count for India,” Chettri told a football website.
Dashing midfielder Cristiano Ronaldo used to play for Sporting Lisbon during his early days.
Sporting Lisbon''s move is understood to be a step to get hold over the 1.2 billion Indian market, which has become a rewarding field for top European football clubs.
Sporting Lisbon had earlier confirmed the news on its website through a press release.
“Sporting Clube de Portugal has officially opened its doors to the Indian market,” the club said.
“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 release added. (ANI)