Kolkata: Mohun Bagan's star I-League winning forward Sony Norde broke into tears as he bid an emotional farewell to the club with a promise that he would be "back".
Struggling with a right knee, Norde, who had guided Mohun Bagan to I-League and Federation Cup titles, sought a termination of his contract to head to Argentina where he will undergo surgery for his torn meniscus.
Emotional scenes were witnessed in their 2-0 derby win over East Bengal on Sunday as about 20,000 supporters adorned Norde's masks and many were also seen sporting the trademark Sony Norde mohawk hairdo.
"It was hard for me to take the decision. I couldn't sleep that night when I took the decision because it was very hard for me," an emotional Norde said.
"I hope you guys try and keep winning. I will pray for Mohun Bagan to win every match. Thank you very much and I will see you very soon," Norde said as hundreds of supporters gathered at the club tent.
"Keep fighting, team. Give your 100 percent in the pitch and win every game. Mohun Bagan will stay, but I have to go. Mohun Bagan lives forever," he said with moist eyes.
Recollecting his association with the club, Norde further added: "What a thrill it was. This club gave me everything, but I have to leave for my career, future and family.
I need to be at my best. If I continue playing despite the injury, it is not good for me."
"I'll come back to Mohun Bagan. Want to thank the officials who treated me like I was always at home. I never missed my family when I was here," the 28-year-old, who joined the team in 2014, said.
Official letter of Sony Norde which was handed over to press & media today ! pic.twitter.com/WG8DOmXDha
— The Mariners' (@MohunBagan) January 22, 2018
He also tried to console the supporters and said: "It's very hard for me seeing the supporters cry. When I was coming for the event this morning, they were crying. I promise you guys that I will come back after recovering from the injury. This is the only way I can give you all the love back.
"Today it's not about me, it's about Mohun Bagan. They are becoming bigger day by day. We could have scored 6-7 goals yesterday (in the Kolkata derby)," he said.
"You can compare the club with every team in the world but you cannot compare the supporters," he concluded.
Updated Date: Jan 23, 2018 10:58:03 IST