CHELSEA captain John Terry has been granted what is likely to be a final shot at laying his Champions League ghosts to rest after agreeing a contract to extend his stay at Stamford Bridge.
One-club man Terry, who has played 621 times for the Blues since making his debut in 1998, has signed a 12-month deal having enjoyed a resurgence since Jose Mourinho’s return as manager last summer.
The former England skipper, 33, has spoken of his determination to play for Chelsea in a triumphant Champions League final, having endured some painful experiences in the competition.
This year’s semi-final defeat to Atletico Madrid was Terry’s fifth at that stage of the tournament, while the two occasions on which Chelsea have progressed are also tainted.
He missed a vital penalty in a 2008 shootout defeat to Manchester United and then, when the Blues did lift the trophy by beating Bayern Munich in 2012, attracted ridicule for donning his kit to celebrate, having been suspended for the final.
That history prompted Mourinho to venture last month that the competition “owed” Terry. Having left the Stamford Bridge field in tears after Atletico had seemingly ended his dream, the defender can now look forward to another European campaign and, he must assume, one last chance.
Fellow Chelsea stalwarts Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole are also out of contract this summer, with the former’s future uncertain despite his inclusion in England’s World Cup squad and the latter expected to leave having indicated Sunday’s win at Cardiff was a farewell appearance.
“I’m delighted to have signed an extension to my contract with Chelsea taking me into my 20th year with the club,” said Terry, who joined the club as a 14-year-old.
“I’d like to thank the fans and club for their continued support, and the manager who was instrumental for me the last season.”
Terry, Chelsea’s most successful captain ever, indicated just weeks ago that he did not know whether he would get a new deal, though chief executive Ron Gourlay insisted the club always wanted to retain him.
He said: “We are very pleased John, who is an undoubted Chelsea legend, will continue to lead the team next season, as he has done for so many years with unrivalled achievement.”
■ Ryan Giggs (Man Utd), 963 games
■ Jimmy Dickinson (Portsmouth), 828
■ Jamie Carragher (Liverpool), 737
■ Paul Scholes (Man Utd), 713
■ Bill Foulkes (Man Utd), 688
■ Tony Adams (Arsenal), 672
■ Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), 669
■ Jimmy Armfield (Blackpool), 627
■ Jack Charlton (Leeds), 629
■ John Terry (Chelsea), 621