Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has said John Terry is a legend who “deserves the best” send-off but did not confirm whether he would grant him a farewell appearance at home to Sunderland on Sunday.
Terry, 36, is bringing down the curtain on his Chelsea career and made his first Premier League start since September in Monday’s win over Watford at Stamford Bridge, opening the scoring.
With the Premier League title secured, Terry will lift the trophy with vice-captain Gary Cahill against Sunderland, but Conte’s top priority is to ensure that Chelsea become the first team in Premier League history to win 30 games in a season.
“It’s important to take your time and take the best decision for him and the best solution,” Conte said. “I think John deserves the best. For this reason, I think on Sunday we’ll see what happens. It will be a surprise.
“He’s a legend for this club. In this season he has been very important to winning this title.
“On Sunday we have two targets: To try to win the 30th game in this league, an unbelievable target for us. And then to help [goalkeeper] Thibaut [Courtois] to win the golden glove.
“We have these two targets, and also to prepare the right way for the final of the FA Cup against Arsenal.”
Terry said earlier this week that he had not ruled out the possibility of retiring at the end of this season after winning 15 major trophies and making more than 700 Chelsea appearances.
“It’s very difficult to find a lot of players with this kind of career,” Conte said. “John is a legend for this club. For the appearances, for the years he’s played for this club, and above all for his victories. A lot of titles.
“It’s not easy to compare but, for sure, [Francesco] Totti played for Roma all his career. The same as [Alessandro] Del Piero. [Paolo] Maldini at Milan… I can tell you about these Italian players because I know them very well. But I think John is a champion.”