This week the spotlight falls on John Terry, a club great with bitterweet memories of both the UEFA Champions League finals he reached with Chelsea.
Best performance: winner (2012)
If you don’t remember him …
Assistant coach at Aston Villa since he officially retired in October, the central defender made his name in a 22-year spell with Chelsea, the club he joined aged 14 in 1995. He eventually totalled 717 senior appearances, the vast majority as captain.
‘JT’ won five league titles, five FA Cups, three League Cups, the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League and 2012/13 UEFA Europa League with the Blues. The 2005, 2008 and 2009 UEFA Club Defender of the Year also had a knack of snatching crucial goals, including four in the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League campaign.
Having earned 78 England caps between 2003 and 2012, Terry finally left Chelsea in 2017, his farewell appearance coming on the day they celebrated their most recent title success.
How he made it to 100 appearances
Terry’s European debut came at 18, against Vålerenga in the quarter-finals of the 1998/99 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup. After his first appearance in the UEFA Champions League proper at home to Beşiktaş on 1 October 2003, Terry featured in 11 consecutive campaigns with Chelsea.
Chelsea were twice finalists in that time, Terry notoriously slipping as he went to take what would have been the winning penalty against Manchester United in Moscow in 2008 (“I walked forward to take it knowing that it was there to be won and it was all down to me. What happened next will haunt me for the rest of my life.”).
Four years later he had to watch from the sidelines due to suspension as the Blues saw off hosts Bayern München on spot-kicks. His 100th UEFA Champions League appearance came against Sporting CP in September 2014 and his last was at home to Porto on 9 December 2015.
His best moments
- Scoring in José Mourinho’s first UEFA Champions League tie as Chelsea manager, a 3-0 win at Paris Saint-Germain in September 2004, and then in the Blues’ next two group games, before the most crucial goal of all that clinched a comeback victory against Barcelona in the round of 16. “This win is up there with the best of them,” said Terry of that last game.
- Striking twice in a captain’s performance in the 4-1 defeat of Napoli in the 2011/12 round of 16 that overturned a 3-1 first-leg loss and helped propel Chelsea to their unlikely triumph in Munich.
- The suspended captain removing his suit to reveal a full kit as he joined the celebrations on the pitch after that 2012 final. “I felt a massive part of it, and the players made me feel a huge part of it,” Terry said.
What others said about him
“I had no doubt Terry was going to become a superstar. His character and personality impressed me straight away. He stepped in as a young player and looked as if he’d played forever – never scared.”
Gianfranco Zola, early Chelsea team-mate
“He was born with the captain’s armband on … He works twice as hard as everyone else, he has the sense of responsibility of someone who runs a company.”
Carlo Ancelotti, former Chelsea manager
“What can a Dutch winger learn from an English centre-back? Everything. The most important thing though, is what it takes to be a captain and a leader at a club.”
Arjen Robben, former Chelsea team-mate
“I saw him here once at [Arsenal’s training ground] London Colney playing with the Under-21s and the way he coached the team as a player was absolutely marvellous. He was a real leader and he had a great career as well, let’s not forget that. That’s never a coincidence. The guys who last such a long time have something special. “
Arsène Wenger, former Arsenal manager
In case you missed them …
Champions League 100 club: Ashley Cole
Champions League 100 club: Patrice Evra
Champions League 100 club: Andrea Pirlo
Champions League 100 club: David Beckham
Champions League 100 club: Frank Lampard
Champions League 100 club: Andriy Shevchenko
Champions League 100 club: Oliver Kahn
Champions League 100 club: Luís Figo