I want to stay at Chelsea, tear­ful Terry tells fans

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - PREMIER LEAGUE - Matt Law FOOT­BALL NEWS COR­RE­SPON­DENT at Stam­ford Bridge

John Terry choked back the tears dur­ing an emo­tional on-pitch speech, but stopped just short of telling the Chelsea fans what they wanted to hear.

De­spite be­ing sus­pended for Chelsea’s fi­nal game of the sea­son, Terry took the mi­cro­phone dur­ing the play­ers’ Stam­ford Bridge lap of ap­pre­ci­a­tion af­ter a Danny Drinkwa­ter goal had can­celled out a Cesc Fabre­gas penalty.

As usual, Terry in­sisted that he wanted to stay at Chelsea but did not go as far as say­ing he would def­i­nitely sign the one-year con­tract ex­ten­sion that in­cludes a pay-cut and a re­duced play­ing role, which was put on the ta­ble last week.

With Chelsea owner Ro­man Abramovich watch­ing from his pri­vate box, Terry ad­dressed the fans and said: “We all want the same. I’ve said for a long time I want to fin­ish my ca­reer here. I’ll be speak­ing to the club over the next few days. I want to stay, the club knows that, the fans know that. I want to stay.”

Terry had to stop mid­way through his speech when the Chelsea fans loudly chanted “John Terry we want you to stay” and also said: “On a per­sonal note, I’d like to thank ev­ery­one. This sea­son has been tough for me, very emo­tional, so, thank you for the sup­port. Chelsea is my life, as it is yours. The best mo­ments of my life have been in this sta­dium. You’ve been a big part of that.”

The 35-year-old joined his team- mates to form a guard of honour for Premier League cham­pi­ons Le­ices­ter City and the for­mer Chelsea man­ager Clau­dio Ranieri ahead of kick-off.

In the 26th minute, a sec­tion of the Chelsea crowd dis­played posters that read ‘John Terry 26’ and the for­mer Eng­land man re­ceived a stand­ing ova­tion from the home sup­port­ers. There was also an enor­mous ban­ner that read ‘John Terry, Proper Chels’.

From his seat be­hind in­terim-man­ager Guus Hid­dink and the Chelsea sub­sti­tutes, Terry rose to ac­knowl­edge the tributes and pat­ted his chest to in­di­cate his af­fec­tion for the fans and the club.

Hid­dink re­fused to spec­u­late whether Terry would ac­cept Chelsea’s of­fer, but he be­lieves last week’s talks are a pos­i­tive sign.

“First of all, I’m happy that they are now in con­tact and are talk­ing,” said Hid­dink. “For me, it’s not good to make spec­u­la­tion. It’s good when both par­ties start to talk. Per­son­ally, I hope they man­age to come to a so­lu­tion. That is my per­sonal opin­ion. When they are talk­ing, then I must not spoil it by start­ing to spec­u­late.

“He is 35, when peo­ple nor­mally say good­bye. But he’s phys­i­cally very fit and men­tally very fit, so he can con­trib­ute a lot wher­ever he wants to play.”

Other than at­tempt­ing to in­flu- ence Terry’s de­ci­sion, Chelsea also paid trib­ute to Ranieri, with Abramovich per­son­ally con­grat­u­lat­ing the man­ager he sacked 12 years ago.

Chelsea pre­sented Ranieri with a sil­ver plate to mark his achieve­ment of win­ning the ti­tle and the Ital­ian ap­peared emo­tional when he was given a stand­ing ova­tion by home fans af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle.

“The emo­tion was at a max­i­mum,” said Ranieri. “There was a fan­tas­tic wel­come back, a warm wel­come back from every­body. I met the owner Ro­man Abramovich here, and also when I went out all the peo­ple – the fans, the Chelsea fans – it was amaz­ing. At the be­gin­ning, but also at the end. No tears, no. Come on, man. Ev­ery time you want to speak about tears!”

Asked ex­actly what Abramovich had said to him, Ranieri replied: “Wel­come to the cham­pi­ons. Very warm.”

Drinkwa­ter made sure Le­ices­ter did not end their fairy-tale sea­son on a de­feat with a stun­ning 30-yard goal that gave Chelsea goal­keeper Thibaut Cour­tois no chance.

Fabre­gas had given his team the lead from the penalty spot af­ter Ne­manja Matic had been fouled in the area by sub­sti­tute Jef­frey Schlupp.

Le­ices­ter will pa­rade the Premier League tro­phy through the city to­day and, of his team’s 10-point mar­gin of vic­tory at the top of the ta­ble, Ranieri said: “We were so con­sis­tent dur­ing the sea­son and the other teams were not, they were go­ing up and down. That was one key for us, one of our strengths.”

On the prospect of play­ing in the Cham­pi­ons League next sea­son, Ranieri added: “The Cham­pi­ons League will be a very good ex­pe­ri­ence for all my play­ers. None of them have played in the Cham­pi­ons League. It will be a very good at­mos­phere with good mu­sic. I hope we are ready not just to lis­ten to the mu­sic, but to make some mu­sic.”

End on a high: John Terry is thrown in the air by team-mates af­ter the match

Re­turn­ing hero: Clau­dio Ranieri is ap­plauded onto the pitch yes­ter­day

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