Kansas City: Indian striker Sunil
Chhetri is all set to rub shoulders with international stars
like Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Dimitar Berbatov as he will
take the field for his Major League Soccer club Kansas City
Wizards against English giants Manchester United in a
pre-season friendly on July 25.
Manchester United have confirmed that star players Giggs,
Scholes, Gary Neville, Darren Fletcher, Berbatov and Edwin Van
der Sar will play in the friendly at the KC Wizards newly
renovated Arrowhead Stadium.
But the Red Devils` star striker Wayne Rooney and French
import Patrice Evra won`t be seen in action as they recover
from World Cup fatigue. United`s top defender Rio Ferdinand
will also sit out because of a knee injury.
"We`re looking forward to Sunil getting the opportunity
to play," Kansas City Wizards Manager Peter Vermes said in a
"He`s been working very hard, and this game will give him
a chance to measure himself against some of the best players
in the world," he added.
Kansas City signed Chhetri from Dempo SC prior to the
start of the 2010 season, making him the first Indian to join
an MLS team.
"I`m very excited. It`s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
to play against the best team in the world," Chhetri said.
Chhetri made his first-team debut in a Lamar Hunt US Open
Cup play-in match on April 13 when he was named to the
starting lineup in a 2-1 loss to the Colorado Rapids. But he
is yet to make his MLS debut.
"In the three months I`ve been here, I`ve been working
hard to understand the kind of game we play in Kansas City,"
"It`s been difficult, because I`ve been trying my best to
acclimatise. I`m excited. Not personally, but for the whole
team and the whole of Kansas City and the whole of America.
Manchester United is one of the best in the world. It should
be a great experience for all of us.”
"It`s huge. I`ve heard Americans are more decent than
what we have in India. They are crazy. The matches are crazy.
You have stones, fires all of that," he added.
Chhetri was one of 30 players selected for the Indian
team`s ongoing preparations for the 2011 Asian Cup, but coach
Bob Houghton indicated the 25-year-old would join the team
towards the end of the year following the conclusion of the
Chhetri was a pivotal player in the country`s
qualification process, scoring a hat trick in the 2008 AFC
Challenge Cup final to secure India`s spot in the Asian Cup
for the first time in 24 years. Chhetri has appeared 35 times
for India, scoring 16 goals.