Ever since John Terry’s infamous missed spot kick against Manchester United in the 2008 Champions League Final held in Moscow, there has been a litmus test of the Chelsea captain’s air of invincibility. For many, Terry symbolized Chelsea’s focus on a tight defense and organized play over the past few years. He was the face of the team and was seemingly untouchable in the eyes of Blues fans. Not anymore.
Saturday’s 4-2 brutal defeat at the hands of Manchester City has raised serious concerns about the fragile state of mind of the 28-year old England international. He has already lost his captaincy on the international front and his marriage has taken a serious hit. All of these things of course are a fault of Terry’s selfishness off the pitch but the reality is Terry has been mired in controversy since the beginning of preseason this year.
It wasn’t too long ago when City was blowing proverbial kisses towards Terry’s way offering the central defender a huge pay raise and Chelsea a record transfer fee (in retrospect, City dodged a huge bullet on that one).
Unlike his compatriot Wayne Rooney at United, who has consistently pledged his loyalty to his team, Terry was very interested in a possible move to Eastlands. After all, his best friend Wayne Bridge (cough, cough) was there at the forefront recruiting him and all of that money. It wasn’t until Chelsea’s owner Roman Abramovich, pleaded by team manager Carlo Ancelotti, broke the team’s wage record that Terry agreed to stay.
Months later, Terry’s a pariah and Bridge is refusing to even shake Terry’s hand, it is clear that Terry has inflicted serious damage to both his club and country. Saturday’s thrashing concluded City’s first double over Chelsea in over 52 years and left the Blues with only one point over second place United.
On the international front, England has already lost star left-back Ashley Cole and Bridge was expected to provide a seamless transition. After Bridge pulled the rug on his international team by refusing to play, if Cole isn’t able to recover from a several ankle injury within three months, the likes of Stephen Warnock or Leighton Baines might be manning the position next to Terry on the left flank. The Three Lions, who were expected to finally be a serious contender under Fabio Capello, are now looking very shaky and in possible disarray.
One question that has remained throughout all of this has been Terry’s complete inability to apologize to Bridge. Maybe he has in private but the reality is that this issue is now a very public dilemma that is known around the globe. Terry might not be captain of England anymore but if he cares about his country’s World Cup chances as well as his club’s title hopes, it’s time to show contrition. It time to show that it isn’t all about number 26.
Alex Labidou is a sports journalist based in New York City. His work has appeared in various places including ABC News (20&20 and Primetime), New York Newsday, VIBE and Fox Sports Radio. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org