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New Delhi, August 16, 2020
Leading football players of the country on Sunday lavished praise on icon Mahendra Singh Dhoni, saying the former wicketkeeper-captain, who announced his retirement from international cricket on Saturday, was also quite good at football.
Ace striker Jeje Lalpekhlua remembers Dhoni as “being quite good at football.”
Taking a trip down memory lane, Jeje talked about the training sessions where ‘Thala’ Dhoni would join them. “He just loves to play football. If he is around, whenever we’re playing a small-sided game during training, he’d always try to join us,”
“Of course, he’s played football when he was a kid and you can gauge how much he still enjoys playing even now,” Jeje stated. “He was always so good with the ball at his feet.”
“He may have been a goalkeeper back in school. But when he’s playing, it has been evident that his skills with his feet have not left him. He’s quite good at football, to be honest,” said Jeje who has been an integral part of Chennaiyin FC in the Hero Indian Super League.
Midfield general Anirudh Thapa, another Chennaiyin FC player, recalled that Dhoni used to come whenever they had a team lunch. He stayed back to talk to the boys and share about his learnings. He’s a very down to earth guy,”
“There were others who also asked him to come and sit with them, but instead he always preferred to sit with the footballers,” Thapa continued.
“He’d say: ‘Let me sit with the boys and let me share some experiences.’ He told us a lot about the struggles he has had to face in his own life, and about his journey in cricket. He's had such an amazing career over the years. I'd like to wish him a happy retirement.”
Another latest addition to the Chennaiyin FC squad, who is a huge fan of MS Dhoni is local boy Edwin Sydney Vanspaul. The 27-year-old described how the city lives and breathes every moment that Dhoni is in Chennai.
“People here are just crazy about him. They may have jobs, and other responsibilities with their family, but if MSD is in town and Chennai Super Kings have a training session, they would all head to the stadium, just to watch them practice,” laughed Edwin. “And when MSD comes out to bat in the nets, these guys just go bonkers. It’s like when Cristiano Ronaldo goes for a training session in Portugal or Spain.”