Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes captain John Terry deserves to play in the Champions League final after suffering numerous disappointments in the latter stages of the competition.
The 33-year-old missed the decisive penalty in the 2008 final loss to Manchester United in Moscow and was absent for the 2012 win in Munich through suspension, although he took to his full playing kit to lift the trophy.
“I think the Champions League owes him something,” Mourinho said.”I think he deserves more than the Champions League has given to him till now.
“He lost a few semi-finals in special circumstances; he lost the final also in special circumstances.
“He won a final, also in special circumstances, because he couldn’t play the final.
“My captain is playing at the same level as when I left Chelsea in 2007/08.
“Six or seven years later he is playing at his best level. It’s fair to say that.
“It’s also fair to say that the people that surround him are playing also fantastic.
“I think his partnership with (Gary) Cahill is fantastic and people that work together in the same areas they are doing a fantastic job.
“I’m really happy to see a player like him, six or seven years later, to be back to the same level.”
Terry, who was also injured for last season’s Europa League final win over Benfica in Amsterdam, insisted the door was closed on his England career and revealed he is in discussions to extend his Chelsea contract.
He retired from international football in September 2012 amid the Anton Ferdinand racism saga which saw him hit with a Football Association ban and he is adamant he will not be going to Brazil.
“For me, 100 per cent, I’m going to be on my holidays in the summer, I’m going to be nowhere else,” Terry said.
“I’ve made that very clear. My thoughts are very strong on that – maybe people don’t realise how strong.
“I certainly wish the England side and Roy (Hodgson, the England manager) the very best.
“When you look at people like Gaz in great form, serving his country very well, we’ll be okay in all departments, I’m sure.
“I’ll be there watching every game and supporting the lads with a nice bit of sun.”
Terry’s current contract expires at the end of the season and he hopes to stay at Stamford Bridge for some time to come.
“It’s the club I’ve been at since the age of 14; there’s been nowhere else,” Terry said.
“Clearly I want to stay for the rest of my footballing days. After that I certainly hope so as well.
“At the minute we’re in talks and ongoing. We’ve had big games around us, so we haven’t spoken for a few weeks.
“I’m hoping it gets done. It’s down to the club. They know I want to stay, I’ve made that very clear to them. And hopefully things can be wrapped up before the end of the season.
“A lot of people within football ruled me out last year. That’s enough to spur you on and fight for the club.
“That’s what I aim to do for the rest of my playing days, whether that’s a year, two years, three years.”
Terry, Eden Hazard (calf) and Samuel Eto’o (ankle) are fit, but goalkeeper Petr Cech is not despite taking part in training a week after being ruled out for the season by Mourinho with a dislocated shoulder sustained in the first leg. Mark Schwarzer will continue in goal.
Mourinho insisted the Czech goalkeeper trained alongside injured personnel, suspended and ineligible players – Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel are banned for the match, while Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah are cup-tied – and those fully fit to show solidarity.
“It’s a very important match for our group,” the Portuguese said.
“Everybody’s together, everybody wants to help, everybody wants to play.
“His condition doesn’t allow him to play but the message from him and the group: everybody’s ready.”
Mourinho is in the semi-final for a fifth successive season and aiming to win the European Cup with a third different club after the 2004 triumph with Porto and 2010 win with Inter Milan.
“I don’t think it’s a crucial point,” Mourinho said.
“Maybe it helps me to sleep fine tonight, but during the game it’s a game. It’s a knockout game, it’s a game of details, it’s a game where maybe, we don’t know, but maybe one goal is the difference.
“The players are more important than me; during the 90 minutes the players are more important than the manager.
“I trust them, I trust them a lot. And that helps me to be calm.
“Everything is very balanced, but we have to enjoy.
“There are some matches that are special matches. The match that every player wants to play is the Champions League final.
“Let’s see if we go to Lisbon or not. I will go for sure in the summer. Let’s see if we go together.”