Belfast Telegraph

John Terry: My kids love Lionel Messi

By Ben Rumsby

John Terry has revealed even his own children "love" Lionel Messi as he insisted revenge was the last thing on his mind ahead of Chelsea's Champions League semi-final against Barcelona.

Terry's five-year-old twins, Georgie and Summer, have their own Messi shirts to go alongside their Blues strips, with the Barca star having become almost as much of a hero to them as their own father.

They are too young to remember the 2009 Champions League semi-final, the last and arguably most controversial clash between the two clubs, after which Messi went on to cement his status as one of the greatest players of all time - if not the greatest.

So Terry is looking forward to them finally being able to see him pit his wits against the very best.

"My kids love him," he said.

"It's a pleasure because when you finish and you look back - and the guy's still going to be going strong - you've tested yourself against the best.

"And, quite clearly for me, he's the best ever.

"He's a great individual, a great person as well and a credit to the sport.

"For me, he's got everything. He is magical."

Confirming his children had Messi replica shirts, Terry declared he wanted to show them he could do more than just be on the same field as the 24-year-old.

"It's obviously nice to say, 'We've done this, we've done that', but it's all about winning for me," he said, insisting he wanted to emulate Messi by winning the Champions League.

"We've not done that yet. That's our aim, that's our target, and that's always been the aim since the owner came in.

"He's very keen for that as well."

No-one has gone closer than Chelsea to lifting the European Cup without actually doing so since Roman Abramovich bought the club nine years ago.

They are into their sixth semi-final in that period, losing all but one of the previous five.

Arguably, none was more agonising than three years ago when several snubbed penalty claims and a stoppage-time Andres Iniesta equaliser saw the Blues miss out on back-to-back finals.

They were livid at the time, Didier Drogba even serving a three-match ban for his reaction to the outcome.

But Terry said: "That's been and gone for me.

"We move on and go again this year, and we're delighted to be in the position we're in."

Asked about Jose Mourinho's insinuation Barca were bound to win under suspicious circumstances, Terry laughed: "I'm not even getting drawn on that."

He was equally dismissive of suggestions that after all the turmoil of this season, 2012 could ironically end up being Chelsea's year.

He said: "I've been down that road before. We're just happy to be where we are.

"Listen, we realise it's going to be tough. They're a great side with great individuals.

"We're a good side as well and we've shown over the last two or three months we're a match for anyone.

"If we can be solid as we have been in the Champions League, who knows?"

Chelsea have won all their European home matches this season and have a good record at Stamford Bridge against Barca.

Admitting Pep Guardiola's men were "one of the best teams ever", Terry added: "Especially at home, I feel as though we take it to them a little bit.

"Not many teams have really done that and you don't see many teams doing that.

"Whether or not that'll be our approach, I'm not sure. That's down to the manager.

"But we've seen before things can happen in five or 10 minutes.

"You go three up and they've got the ability to come back, as they've shown. You can't predict anything."

Other than Messi's brilliance, that is.

Terry said: "I wouldn't say he could be stopped but, collectively, they can be. We've shown that at the Bridge.

"Other times, they tear teams apart."

They will certainly pounce on any Chelsea weaknesses, of which there were plenty in Wednesday night's quarter-final second leg against Benfica.

That was the latest in a nightmare run of fixtures which continue with tomorrow's and Monday's Barclays Premier League games against Wigan and Fulham respectively.

Admitting to tiredness, Terry added: "That's just down to the busy schedule.

"We've got two games in three days, so it doesn't get any easier."

Belfast Telegraph


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