Aging giant

John Terry has been one of the best centre-backs of his generation, winning 16 major honours, making over 600 appearances for one club and captaining his country. By Paul Joannou.

John Terry has been written off before, but he has bounced back. But there is a growing sense that he is now coming to the end of his playing career.

The 34-year-old has been one of the best centre-backs of his generation, winning 16 major honours, making over 600 appearances for one club and captaining his country.

His career has had everything: drama, glory and controversy. The roller-coaster has continued this season but after the highs of last season, his fortunes have now taken a turn for the worse during a disappointing start to Chelsea’s defence of their Premier League title.

After defeat to Arsenal in the Community Shield and an unconvincing 2-2 home draw with Swansea, Chelsea were then outclassed by Manchester City in a 3-0 loss and Terry was substituted at half-time. On a personal level it then got worse for Terry as he was sent off against West Brom in the next match, although Chelsea at least secured a 3-2 win.

It was not long ago that Terry was being hailed as a candidate for player of the year after playing all 38 of Chelsea’s Premier League games last season as he played a monumental role in helping them to their first league title in five years.

Some are now writing obituaries of his illustrious career but it is not the first time Terry has found himself in this situation. He made just 14 league appearances during the 2012/13 campaign, with manager Rafael Benitez believing he could not manage to play two games a week at the top level. Terry has since proved the Spaniard wrong though.

Unfortunately for Terry, his career will also be remembered for several controversies. He was fined by Chelsea for his behaviour at a hotel near Heathrow airport shortly after the September 11 attacks in 2001, and an alleged altercation with a nightclub bouncer a few months later resulted in a court appearance but he was cleared of all charges.

In 2010, after a super injunction had been lifted, it was reported that Terry allegedly had an affair with the former girlfriend of former Chelsea team-mate Wayne Bridge and he was stripped of the England captaincy as a result.

In a game against Manchester City, Bridge refused to shake his opponent’s hand but Terry did not let his off-field troubles distract him as Chelsea went on to win the Premier League. He also regained the England captaincy.

Terry was again in the spotlight a year later after being accused of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand during a game against Queens Park Rangers. He was eventually cleared by a court but was stripped of the England captaincy and then, on the eve of his FA hearing, he announced his retirement from international football.

He was found guilty by the FA and banned for four matches, as well as receiving a GBP220,000 fine.

The one positive to come out of such an unsavoury episode was Terry’s club form, which has arguably benefited from him quitting the England scene, so much so that there were calls for him to represent the Three Lions again heading into the last World Cup.

It was never likely to happen though, with Terry set to end his career with 78 England caps and — like the rest of the so-called golden generation — no international honours.

It is a very different story at club level though. Terry has stayed with Chelsea for his entire career, with the exception of a short loan spell at Nottingham Forest in 2000. He has won four Premier League titles with Chelsea and finally lifted the Champions League trophy in 2012, despite being banned for the final against Bayern Munich.

It was a sweet moment for Terry, who had the chance to win the 2008 final for Chelsea but slipped when taking his penalty in the shootout against Manchester United and instead ended the night in tears.

Terry now faces a fight to get back into the team ahead of Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma but history has shown that he should never be written off.

The defender married Toni Poole in 2007 and the couple have twins.

FACTFILE Name: John Terry Position: Centre-back Club: Chelsea D.O.B: 7/12/1980 England caps: 78 England goals: 6

Moment to remember: Winning the UEFA Champions League in 2012.

Moment to forget: Missing a penalty which would have won the Champions League for Chelsea in 2008.

© PA Sport