Sunday 18 February 2018

Standing ovation for Claudio Ranieri as Stamford Bridge urges John Terry to stay

John Terry sat behind manager Guus Hiddink on the last day of the season
John Terry sat behind manager Guus Hiddink on the last day of the season

Chelsea fans hailed former boss Claudio Ranieri and urged skipper John Terry to stay as champions Leicester visited Stamford Bridge.

Blues players, including suspended skipper Terry, former a guard of honour for Leicester as they emerged from the tunnel.

Ranieri, who managed Chelsea between 2000 and 2004, was then handed a ceremonial plate by his old club while the home fans sung his name and gave him a standing ovation.

The Italian, 64, guided Chelsea to second place during his spell in charge, their highest finish for 49 years, only to eventually be replaced by Jose Mourinho.

But he returned to his old stomping ground as a Premier League champion with unfancied Leicester to face the Blues, who brought Mourinho's second stint as boss to an end in December amid a season of struggle.

Terry, who played under Ranieri, took his seat behind the dug-out as a huge banner reading 'John Terry, Proper Chelsea' was unfurled in the Shed End.

The 35-year-old defender revealed in January that his contract, which expires in June, would not be extended only for the club to offer him fresh terms - including "a different role" - earlier this week.

Terry believes he can play on for one or two more years at the top level, but hinted that he would have to accept a reduced role next season under incoming head coach Antonio Conte. There is also a possibility the new contract includes some coaching.

The former England captain is currently considering the offer, although he made no specific reference to his future in his programme notes.

However, when thanking the supporters for their backing over this season and their more successful campaigns, he wrote: "That's where we want to get back to, together."

Blues fans made their thoughts clear, chanting 'we want you to stay', and after 26 minutes the Shed held up placards bearing the number 26, a reference to Terry's shirt number.

Terry looked emotional as the Bridge sang his name again. He stood up, applauded all sides of the ground and patted his Chelsea badge. The message had certainly got through.

Press Association

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