John Terry is in the Paolo Maldini bracket says Carlo Ancelotti
16 October 2009 07:06
Ancelotti caused great amusement at Chelsea's Cobham training ground this week by appearing on Italian television programme Chiambretti Night, which begins with a scantily-clad girl giving the star guest a lap dance. But it was his tongue-in-cheek comments about Terry being his 'pet' that needed most explanation.
"It's a comedy programme," he explained. "And they made a comparison with Terry and Inzaghi. I have respect for them all, for Terry, Inzaghi, Gattuso . all the players who work with enthusiasm.
"Also Paolo Maldini. I think the careers of Maldini and that of John Terry are very close in comparison. Not just in terms of their play, but in terms of their professionalism.
"Like Maldini at Milan, Terry was born in this club. Like Maldini, he went through the academy at this club. And he has a very good feeling for this club, which is very important."
That comparison should be treasured by Terry because Maldini, who won eight titles and five European Cups in a 25-year career, is such a legendary figure that his No 3 shirt has been retired at the San Siro.
The defender hung up his boots only last May at the age of almost 41 and Ancelotti sees no reason why Terry, despite his fearless style of play, should not play until a similar age.
"He can do this. He has no physical problems, a lot of passion, and this is the most important thing to continue to 39 or 40 years," said the Italian.
"I think that, now, with the preparation, physical training and injury prevention, it's different. Once, when I played, 33 or 34 was the end. Now players can play on without a problem."
Chelsea go to Villa Park without Michael Ballack, who injured an ankle playing for Germany in midweek, but with Petr Cech available again.