After mutually ending his contract with the Sporting Clube de Portugal reserve side, Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri on Friday joined I-League new entrants JSW Sports in a two-year deal in one of the biggest signings of the domestic transfer market.
Chhetri had one more year left in his two-year deal with the Portuguese side but he told PTI that he has ended his contract on mutual agreement.
"I have ended my contract with Sporting Clube de Portugal on mutual agreement. I have now signed with JSW sports and it is for two years," Chhetri said.
Chhetri had recently said that he would travel to Portugal and speak to Sporting team management before deciding his future course of action as he was not getting enough competitive match there.
His signing for JSW Sports, which is launching its club on Saturday, ends weeks of speculation over his future.
"I met people at JSW a few months ago and the first thing that struck me was the passion behind all the planning. I want to play for a club that's clear about its vision and I saw that in JSW. I know I am coming from a champion team but that works as more motivation here," Chhetri said.
On his decision of signing for a club that will be making its I-League debut this season, Chhetri said he did not need any prodding.
"Choosing JSW was not really tough because the people seemed genuine. We need to think long term. We are a young team and we would not want to harbour high hopes. I am not setting any targets but I'm sure we can achieve a lot of things if we stick together," said the 28-year-old striker who has scored 37 goals in 66 appearances for the country.
On the possibility of leading a young side, Chhetri said, "I'm used to taking burdens and I'm going to give everything I am capable of, to this club. We are going to need everyone – right from the ball boy to the owners – to be behind us at all times and I am sure we can repay their faith."
Parth Jindal, CEO of the club, said they were delighted with the latest signing."For someone of Sunil Chhetri's calibre to join JSW says a lot about the club. Signing the national team captain is the best possible statement of where we want to take this club. We are very happy to have Sunil on board," he said.
Chhetri is the second national team player that JSW have signed after fellow-striker Robin Singh agreed a deal with the club last week.