Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes captain John Terry deserves to play in another Champions League final after suffering numerous disappointments in the latter stages of the competition.
Terry is fit to play in tonight’s Champions League semi-final (second leg) against Atletico Madrid in London, despite hobbling off in last Tuesday’s goalless first leg with an ankle injury. The score stands at 0-0 as the Blues bid to claim a place in the May 24 final in Lisbon.
The 33-year-old Terry missed the decisive penalty in the 2008 final loss to Manchester United in Moscow and was out of the 2012 win in Munich through suspension, although he took to his full playing kit to lift the trophy.
“I think the Champions League owes him something,” Mourinho said. “I think he deserves more than the Champions League has given to him till now. He lost a few semi-finals in special circumstances; he lost the final also in special circumstances. He won a final, also in special circumstances, because he couldn’t play the final.
“My captain is playing at the same level as when I left Chelsea in 2007-08. Six or seven years later he is playing at his best level. It’s fair to say that. It’s also fair to say that the people that surround him are playing also fantastic.
“I think his partnership with Gary Cahill is fantastic and people that work together in the same areas they are doing a fantastic job. I’m really happy to see a player like him, six or seven years later, to be back to the same level.”
Terry, who was also injured for last season’s Europa League final win over Benfica in Amsterdam, insists the door is closed on his England career and revealed he is in discussions to extend his Chelsea contract.
He retired from international football in September 2012 amid the Anton Ferdinand racism saga which saw him hit with a Football Association ban and he is adamant he will not be going to Brazil.
“For me, 100%, I’m going to be on my holidays in the summer, I’m going to be nowhere else,” Terry said.
“I’ve made that very clear. My thoughts are very strong on that – maybe people don’t realise how strong. I certainly wish the England side and Roy Hodgson, the England manager, the very best.”
Terry’s current contract expires at the end of the season and he hopes to stay at Stamford Bridge for some time to come.
“It’s the club I’ve been at since the age of 14. There’s been nowhere else,” Terry said. “Clearly I want to stay for the rest of my footballing days.”
Mourinho, meanwhile, confirmed Petr Cech is not in contention to play in tonight’s match at Stamford Bridge, despite sending the goalkeeper out to training yesterday morning in a show of togetherness.
Cech took part in training on the eve of the contest a week after being ruled out for the season by Mourinho with a dislocated shoulder sustained in the first leg.
Cech departed after 20 minutes of last Tuesday’s first leg, which finished 0-0, to be replaced by Mark Schwarzer, who is poised to continue in the second leg.
Mourinho insisted the Czech goalkeeper trained alongside suspended players and those fully fit to show solidarity.