Chelsea captain John Terry admits to no talks with club over future
John Terry's departure from Chelsea is beginning to resemble an unhappy divorce.
Yesterday the club captain pointedly repeated his desire to stay at Stamford Bridge but said he and the club were "not talking". Terry, who revealed last week he has not been offered a new contract after more than two decades at the outgoing champions, said after the 1-1 draw with Manchester United: "There's no communication between myself and the club. I have made it very clear: I want to stay."
When this was put to Guus Hiddink, the club's interim manager replied with the diplomacy of a Relate counsellor. "We have dealt with this issue," he said. "Let's wait on what happens from now on. The focus is on ourselves. He has explained he is focusing on games, not this issue."
This seemed at odds with Terry decision to re-open the debate, even if the 35-year-old's column in the match programme studiously avoided any mention of his impending departure - as did Hiddink's.
Not that it could be ignored. The banners draped on the Matthew Harding Stand, including those paying tribute to Frank Lampard and Roman Abramovich, had been hauled back over the barriers leaving ' JT, captain, leader, legend' in splendid isolation at the centre of the stand above the goal Chelsea began defending.
This was Chelsea's first home match since the news broke and there were other, homemade banners supporting Terry, one comparing his worth favourably to technical director Michael Emenalo.
Fans also frequently broke into vocal support.
Terry might have capped the afternoon with a goal but for a block by Daley Blind, with the game goalless, late in the first half. The ball hit Blind's arm and Terry and his boss insisted it should have been a penalty.
"It was going in," said Terry, "he put his hands up. It's got to be a penalty." Hiddink added: "It was a definite penalty."
Terry's worth to Chelsea is likely to remain high in the next few weeks as Kurt Zouma suffered what looks a bad injury after misjudging his jump for a high ball. He landed awkwardly on his knee and had to be taken off on a stretcher. He will have a scan when the bruising subsides but Hiddink said: "Hyperextension of the knee joint can be very bad. We will see."
With United having led until injury-time, Louis van Gaal said: "It is frustrating, but it is not a big disappointment because we played a very good match."
Van Gaal, who again refused to discuss reports that United were lining up Jose Mourinho to replace him, added: "It was not boring, for the third time in a row it was sparkling."