It is difficult to put on words just how important John Terry has been to Chelsea since his emergence in the 2000-01 season as a talented Academy prospect who would go on to amass over 700 appearances for the club, second most all-time. As Chelsea's captain since 2004, he was the leader on and off the pitch through the many phases that Chelsea have gone through in the Roman Abramovich era.
But now, at age 36, Terry is seeing much less playing time under head coach Antonio Conte, but given how well the team’s performing, the captain is happy to keep watching from the sideline.
In quotes that will sound familiar if you remember his interview with SFR Sport’s William Gallas from a couple month ago, JT once again reaffirms this selfless attitude.
"First and foremost the team is flying, playing unbelievable. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do as a player. I started the first four games of the season and get injured and we lose at home to Liverpool and Arsenal away and the manager is asking ‘how long till you are back?’"
"And then we go 13 games unbeaten and you’re back fit but you can’t get in. And as a player it’s difficult to accept but you have to accept it. When you’ve got a manager like Conte who’s been honest with me from day one ‘listen you’re not getting back, in the boys are playing great the team’s flying’, you haven’t got a leg to stand on."
"I genuinely mean when I say it, but for me I am honestly hoping I don’t play this season which means they keep winning. Do you get that from a player that’s been here five years? I don’t think you do. Do you get that from a player who plays but moaning every week? I’ve not moaned once."
"I’m training unbelievably, you have to, you do things the right way because the love of the club and how much you respect the club and how good the club has been to you over the years."
After managing to convince the club and Conte to give him a new contract last season, Terry’s time as a player at Chelsea looks to be coming to an end. His current contract expires in the summer and there’s not been so much as a whisper about a renewal. Terry himself seems unsure of his immediate future — his Instagram story from yesterday appears to maybe hint at retirement — though he seems to have clearer long-term goals.
"I think the love I have for the club I’m hoping I can be back here, in whatever, a year, two years, this year, I really don’t know. It’s something I want to do, go into my badges, be an ambassador for the club. When I think of Chelsea I think of Lamps, Ash [Cole], Didier [Drogba]."
-John Terry; Source: BT Sport via Goal.com
Terry is the last and strongest remaining bastion of the famous Old Guard. Nothing lasts forever, but like many of our legends, this season won’t be the last time Terry’s associated with Chelsea Football Club, that’s for sure.