Chelsea door 'not shut' for Terry, says Hiddink
Cobham (United Kingdom) (AFP)
Interim Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink believes there is still a chance captain John Terry could remain at the club beyond this season despite announcing his departure, he said on Tuesday.
Terry, 35, said that he would be moving on at the end of the current campaign after Sunday's FA Cup win at Milton Keynes Dons, while making it clear he would prefer to finish his career at Stamford Bridge.
The club responded by saying that Terry, who has made 696 appearances for Chelsea over 21 years, could yet be offered a new deal, which Hiddink echoed.
"It was said by John and he's entitled to make up his mind, that's true, given his contract expires at the end of the season," Hiddink said.
"But on the other hand, the club still want to have the dialogue and to have an open door still. It was a bit surprising, but he's entitled to do so.
"No specific decision was made yet. You have to see what's coming up with the transition of the manager as well. That's all I can say about this."
Terry has made it clear he would not seek to join another Premier League club and he is expected to receive offers to play in China, the Middle East and the United States.
And Hiddink believes the centre-back's general fitness suggests he can maintain his current level for some time yet.
"I like him very much, the way he's playing and that he's committed to the team," the Dutchman told a press conference at Chelsea's Cobham training base southwest of London.
"He will be (committed), I can assure you, because we've had some conversations in the last few days about all kinds of things in football."
- 'Different' challenge for Guardiola -
He added: "The door is not shut. Dialogue is always possible. But John's statistics -- not just that, but also the view we have on him, I have on him -- he's very fit.
"He's not what you normally see in a 35-year-old or 36-year-old player, that you feel you are getting a bit slower and cannot accept you're in a danger zone for red cards etc. But none of that for John.
"He is fit and performing as he has been while I've been here. And he will do. We've spoken about that, and he will be very professional, but also work hard as well."
Hiddink will make a late decision on whether to include Alexandre Pato in his squad for Wednesday's visit to Watford.
The Brazilian has completed the formalities of his six-month loan move from Corinthians, but has not played since November.
"He is some way off fitness," Hiddink said. "He had to do the bureaucratic stuff yesterday (Monday) and was out of the country to come back into the country to sort the paperwork.
"But he's worked for a few training sessions. He'll be in this afternoon. We'll decide late afternoon if he can be involved, but he's in 'preparation', if not fully fit to act."
Hiddink, meanwhile, believes Pep Guardiola will face a different kind of challenge after agreeing to take charge of Manchester City next season following spells at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
"People expected it when he said he was leaving Bayern and wanted to go to the Premier League, a very attractive league for the younger managers," said the 69-year-old.
"To act in this league is beautiful. And he will face another league than he's used to. You have always this kind of domination at the teams he's worked at before, and no one can achieve what he did.
"But this is a different situation. There is no specific favourite like in Spain with Barcelona and Real (Madrid), or in Germany when the only one in September to be sure to be champions are Bayern.
"It's different in England, but it will be good for him."
© 2016 AFP