John Terry holds an unparalleled place in the history of Chelsea football club says his current team-mate and Brazilian free-kick specialist Willian.
In an exclusive interview with Squawka, the in-form attacker spoke of how fortunate he has been to play alongside such an icon, and his regret that the club have decided not to extend his current contract beyond the summer.
“He is definitely one of the greatest or maybe the greatest player of Chelsea’s history,” said Willian told Squawka. “He’s won everything for this club. He is respected by all of us.”
Terry has made almost 500 Premier League appearances for the Blues over the past 18 seasons, lifting the league title on four occasions, the FA Cup five times, the League Cup three times and both the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Furthermore, the centre-back is also the Premier League’s highest scoring defender, bagging 30 goals.
He also won 78 caps for England from 2003 until his international retirement in 2012 and has collected a number of accolades recognising his quality throughout his career including a place in the FIFA FIFPro World XI five times, the UEFA Team of the Year four times the FIFA World Cup All-Star Team in 2006.
As an individual he has been honoured with the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award in 2005 and UEFA’s Club Defender of the Year award in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
For Willian, the chance to play under such an experienced and successful captain at Chelsea has been a highlight of his own career.
“I’m thankful for having the opportunity to play beside him. I’ve learnt a lot from John Terry,” Willian said. “I think he would like to stay longer with us, but unfortunately it seems he won’t be able to remain as a Chelsea player.”
As one of his club’s best performers this season, amid a campaign of disappointment under Jose Mourinho and regrouping under Guus Hiddink, there is hope in some quarters that Willian could follow his current captain’s lead to become a future skipper of the dressing room in some capacity.
However, as things stand, the time to show whether he can step into the breach in place of Terry looks set to come sooner rather than later for the Brazilian, although he only has words of encouragement for the defender should Chelsea hold firm on their decision to let him leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.
“The club won’t probably extend his contract I can just wish him the best of luck for the rest of his career,” Willian said.
The Brazilian and Chelsea’s next game sees them face Newcastle United in Premier League, while after that clash they visit France to play Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 of the Champions League.