John Terry the talk of Stamford Bridge but Claudio Ranieri enjoys the last laugh

Chelsea 1 Leicester City 1: John Terry has a habit of hijacking title celebrations and this time it wasn’t even Chelsea’s party he gatecrashed as the defender took centre stage at Stamford Bridge to extend the soap opera around his future.

John Terry the talk of Stamford Bridge but Claudio Ranieri enjoys the last laugh

Terry, who famously put on his full kit to join the Champions League presentation in Munich in 2012, was sitting it out again for a 1-1 draw against Leicester on the final day of the season; yet all the headlines are still about him.

For the record, Cesc Fabregas put Chelsea ahead from the penalty spot before Danny Drinkwater scored a superb equaliser for the newly-crowned champions, a result which means Chelsea — who won the title last year of course — finished the campaign in 10th place, their lowest finish in 20 years.

However once Leicester’s players had finished a lengthy farewell to their fans at the end of a fairytale campaign and Claudio Ranieri, a former Chelsea manager, had taken plaudits from all four corners of the ground, it was Terry commanding all the attention.

At the age of 35, and having been at Chelsea since 1998, the Chelsea captain had been expected to leave the club having failed to persuade the board to offer him a new contract. Then, with talk of a move to the Chinese Super League in the air, Chelsea responded to protests from their own fans to announce he had been offered a deal after all — a one-year contract which Terry says involves a ‘different role’ and which he needs to discuss.

So, would his captain’s address to Stamford Bridge bring good or bad news?

“We all want the same thing,” Terry told the crowd. “I want to stay, the club knows that, the fans know that. I want to finish my career here. I’ll be speaking to the club over the next few days.”

It was by no means a definitive answer but it at least gave Chelsea fans a chance to go home thinking about something other than the miserable season their team has delivered over the last nine months.

“This has been a difficult season, we are where we deserve to be in the league,” admitted Terry. “I can assure you we’ll be back fighting for this title next year.”

If Terry had a tear in his eye as teammates gave him the bumps on the Stamford Bridge pitch, then his manager Guus Hiddink insisted he was holding them back, despite taking charge for the last time before handing over to Italian Antonio Conte next season.

“I won’t say a dramatic, crying goodbye because I’ll be back, not in the limelight but hidden a bit because what I like is to help out with the academy boys,” he said.

“I don’t think I’ll be back as manager — if I’m back in December or something then it would be very bad for Chelsea I think! I have full confidence this club is on the way up.”

On a day when emotions, as Ranieri put it, were ‘at the maximum’, the Leicester boss also had something of a wobbly lip. Twelve years to the day after his last game as Chelsea manager — having been sacked by Roman Abramovich despite finishing second in the league and reaching the Champions League semi-finals — he was given a rousing reception.

His champions were given a guard of honour and came from behind to earn a draw which means they finish the season 10 points clear of second-placed Arsenal.

“To win the league by 10 points shows how consistent we were,” said Ranieri. “Now we have a bus tour of Leicester, we fly to Thailand and after we have break. Then I can start to realise what happened this season. Maybe!”

As for the match, it was a sleepy one until Chelsea scored and Leicester decided there was no way they were ending such a remarkable season with a defeat.

Kasper Schmeichel made a stunning save from Willian in a goalless first half before Chelsea went ahead through a 65th-minute Cesc Fabregas penalty, given away when Jeffrey Schlupp brought down Nemanja Matic. That, however, spurred Leicester into action, culminating in a spectacular long-range finish from Danny Drinkwater to make it 1-1 after 82 minutes.

That goal meant Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois finished the season without keeping a single clean sheet at Stamford Bridge; showing what a poor campaign this has been in west London — even with John Terry on board.


Courtois 6, Azpilicueta 6, Cahill 6, Ivanovic 6 (Tomori 60), Baba Rahman 6; Fabregas 6, Matic 6, Pedro 6 (Loftus-Cheek 53), Willian 6, Hazard 6, Traore 5 (Abraham 53;6)


Schmeichel 7, Simpson 7, Wasilewski 6, Morgan 7, Fuchs 6, Kante 7, Drinkwater 7, King 6 (Okazaki 46; 6), Mahrez 7 (Albrighton 80), Vardy 6, Gray 6 (Schlupp 46;6).


Craig Pawson.

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