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Even Chelsea's great survivor John Terry cannot outrun Abramovich


John Terry kisses the Premier League trophy after triumph last season

John Terry kisses the Premier League trophy after triumph last season


John Terry kisses the Premier League trophy after triumph last season

The news was a shock, but it was always going to be a shock. John Terry has built up a sense of permanence, almost invincibility in his Chelsea career, which will now be ending in four months' time.

To describe him as 'part of the furniture' would undersell him by years. When a player is in his 16th season at the top of the game, it is hard to imagine any alternative.

Terry has survived so much already, so many things that might have ended or altered the career of someone other than 'Teflon John'. He lost the England captaincy for the first time in 2010. His England career ended in disgrace in 2012.

He was routinely benched by Rafa Benitez in 2013, after a serious knee injury. Chelsea considered releasing him in 2014, at the end of Jose Mourinho's first season back at Stamford Bridge, but he improved and they released the less-tarnished Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard instead.

Terry rewarded Chelsea with a brilliant 2014-15 season, in which he won his fourth Premier League title, his 16th major trophy in blue. When Terry shut out Arsenal at the Emirates on the way to the title nine months ago, Mourinho said it was the best he had ever seen him play.

Mourinho and Terry had their differences this season, but he survived that too, and Guus Hiddink returned at Christmas. He looked as important as ever.

But for all Terry's popularity with the fans, and his importance to the coach, this club does not belong to any of them. It belongs to Roman Abramovich. When Chelsea decide that a player or coach is no longer part of their future, there is nothing that can be done.

Cole and Lampard had their Chelsea careers ended swiftly. Mourinho lasted seven months after winning the Premier League. Roberto di Matteo lasted seven months after winning the Champions League.

After a few years of building and developing Chelsea look to be clearing the decks to renew the team.

More players will leave, but none as significant, or as surprising as Terry.

Belfast Telegraph