John Terry's announcement regarding his contract situation and probable departure from Chelsea yesterday took everyone by surprise, including his usual centre-back partner, young Kurt Zouma.
"I am very surprised - I didn't know. Now we have to see what John wants to do because I think he can play for another one or two years. This feels like when we lost Didier [Drogba] last summer. [Terry] is a huge personality at Chelsea. When you lose these kind of players, you have to replace them but I don't know how John can be replaced. We have to think about it."
"For me he can play many more times. He is still at a top level. He has been playing very well since I arrived at Chelsea [in 2014]. He can continue for sure. His performances have been consistent. Since I have been at the club, I haven't seen him play badly. That's the truth. He was always helping everybody."
Zouma is clearly a fan; he's often talked about learning from the veteran players in the team both in training and on the pitch during matches.
"He has been a massive support to me. When I started my first games last year he was always talking to me. He is a legend and a very good leader. I have learnt a lot from him. I don't know what to say, I am very surprised."
-Kurt Zouma; Source: London Evening Standard
Zouma's rise to become a starter this season probably owes quite a bit to John Terry's influence. While Zouma is still far from perfect, he's improved a lot on the mental and technical aspects of his game. He's clearly one for the future, but it's a future that will likely not include Terry anymore after this season. (It might include some other high profile signing though.)
Either way, the club claims that Terry's contract situation could change depending on who the new manager will be. The new manager could decide that JT still is able to bring something beyond just passion or leadership. Until then, we can only speculate and prepare ourselves, like Zouma, for the John Terry-less future.