Wayne Bridge will come face to face with John Terry today for the first time since it emerged his former teammate had an affair with his ex-girlfriend Vanessa Perroncel.
Fierce rivalries on the football pitch are not unusual but today’s game between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge, west London, could take things to a whole new level.
Speculation is rife whether the pair, if selected to start, will shake hands as the teams line up before kick-off.
The pressure will also be on referee Mike Dean who is charged with making sure a football match actually goes ahead amid all the hype.
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti said he does not expect the atmosphere to affect his captain.
He said: “John Terry is professional and doesn’t have a problem in staying focused on the match.
“He has been doing good performances. He is in focus and has a good mentality.
“He has had a fantastic season and will do the same until the end of the season.”
City manager Roberto Mancini refused to comment on whether the former friends would shake hands on the pitch and urged Bridge to concentrate on the game which comes just 48 hours after he withdrew from England’s World Cup plans.
He said: “He is a strong character, who has a strong mentality.”
The pre-game handshake was introduced by the Premier League two seasons ago as part of the Get On With The Game campaign to encourage acceptable behaviour.
As players file past opponents, they can choose to take part in the Fair Play Handshake as a courtesy rather than a rule.
Such is the interest in the interaction between Terry and Bridge that Sky viewers will be able to see the crucial moments before kick-off.
Usually, the broadcaster would screen adverts during the routine and return to the pitch for the main action.
But sources said timings would be altered to make sure nothing was missed.