Tuesday night marked a major milestone for Chelsea captain John Terry, as he reached 100 appearances in the Champions League. He became one of a very small group of players in the competition's history to reach that mark, and had some lengthy comments for the media on Wednesday.
While the milestone achievement was obviously discussed, some of the comments I found the most interesting involved the players that have joined the club in the past two transfer windows. Here's what he had to say about three of our newer signings:
"Those three signings are quality, all unbelievable players but big characters as well, on and off the pitch. What I call real men, and players with great experience as well. Matic had to come to Portugal [with Benfica] and gain experience, but came back to Chelsea a completely different player and a man now. He was superb again against Sporting. Cesc has been in England before so he knew what to expect, and you expect him to hit the ground running, which he’s done."
"With Diego we didn’t know. We’ve seen it before: some strikers take months and months. But he’s hit the ground running. Eight goals already is superb and it’s great for us. He’s a good character, a great character. Without speaking a word of English he gets by and gets on great with everyone. He puts himself about but gets up and battles on, and plays with little niggles. That’s what you want. That’s why he’s come to the Premier League: to win. He made that clear to everyone in pre-season. He’s come here to win trophies. That’s what he wants to do."
Terry also spoke about the club's expectations for this season, and the disappointment of falling out of the title race as the spring wore on last year. First, his comments about missing out on winning the Premier League last term:
"I was in tears over the Premier League last year, over throwing that away and not winning it. That’s what I play for week in, week out. I’m never scared to show my emotions. I just want to win trophies, that’s what I’m born to do, it’s in me from when I was a kid. I just want to win games, whether that’s in the Premier League or the Champions League."
Don't worry John, you weren't the only aging player that was disappointed by his team's collapse last spring. Fortunately enough for you though, you've actually lifted the trophy in the past. On to the milestone achievement, and European highlights and expectation:
"There have been many [highlights] over the years but, when we beat Barça and Bayern Munich in the early days, the first taste of it. But for me the most important thing is not just the 100 appearances but to strive to go on and win it again for the club. On a personal note I’m delighted to reach that many games, it’s a great achievement, I think only 28 players have done it. So to stay in a great side for that long and to play that many games is an honor."
"I hope this team is good enough to win it again. That’s obviously the target, the mentality of where we are as a club, and it has been for the last 10 years or so since the owner came in. With José Mourinho back in now, that’s our target and that’s the standard. Maybe 10 years ago when we first came into it that wasn’t the expectation but now, with the money that’s been invested, the players we have and the experience we have in the competition, that’s always the target."
"I’m still driven on by missing the final two years ago. The biggest night ever for the club, and I didn’t play in it. But I played in one [in Moscow] and I felt a massive part of it, and the players made me feel a huge part of Munich. Along the way you look back at games, like the Napoli game [in the 2012 last-16 tie] and others where you played a big part as well. But, because it’s me, people look and say: ‘He’s not won it.’ People like to have their digs and their pops, but I know I played a huge part, in the dressing room and on the field as well, so I count myself to have won it. No one speaks about the other 10 players who weren’t on the pitch that night in Munich as well. Maybe that’s me and that’s where I am at as a player."
Well, John, we're all hoping that you and the club take part in eleven more Champions League games this season, and that you're able to start the victorious final in Germany this time. Given what we've seen thus far, there's no reason to think it can't happen.