Sunil Chhetri arrives in Portugal to play for Sporting Lisbon reserve team

The Indian football team captain, Sunil Chhetri, arrived in Portugal on Thursday, exactly seven days after being signed by Sporting Clube de Portugal, popularly known as Sporting Lisbon, a club that has given the world the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Figo, says a report in The Hindu.

“Sunil Chhetri moves to Sporting Clube de Portugal for the next season, the Indian football captain arrives in Portugal early in the morning,” a release said. Chhetri was accompanied by the club’s advisor Nuno Gomez.

Only the second footballer to play in Europe after former skipper Bhaichung Bhutia, Chhetri has been drafted in to play in the club’s reserve (‘B’) team, which will play in the second division of the league. Based on his performance with the reserve team, Sporting Lisbon will take a call on whether he should be fast-tracked into the main squad.

“From 163rd (India’s FIFA ranking) to playing in the fifth ranked nation in the world, its one opportunity I will never forget in my life,” Chhetri said after the deal was made official last Thursday.

Meanwhile a Times Of India report says that Chhetri was well aware of the tough test that awaits him in the Iberian country.  "I will have to do a lot of hard work. I will leave no stone unturned, so that I don't regret later in my life. When I am 40, I don't want to feel that I could have done better," he said.

Chhetri has had foreign experience before, having previously undergone trials for Queens Park Rangers and Coventry and played for Kansas City Sporting.

Chhetri had trained at the Sporting Lisbon ground with the national team before the start of the Asia Cup and said that he needed to prove himself and see what he could achieve.