English Premiership

Team-mates praise Terry's 700th appearance

John Terry and Gary Cahill (AFP)
John Terry and Gary Cahill (AFP)

Cape Town - Chelsea team-mates Nemanja Matic and John Obi Mikel have hailed captain John Terry's "amazing achievement" in reaching 700 first-team appearances for the Stamford Bridge club.

The former England centre half reached the milestone when, returning from a hamstring injury, he came on as a second-half substitute in Saturday's 2-0 FA Cup quarterfinal defeat at Everton.

"It's a truly amazing achievement, one which only very big players can do," Serbia midfielder Matic told the club website on Monday.

"At any club you only have maybe one player like this, if at all.

"At Roma you have (Francesco) Totti, at Manchester United you had (Ryan) Giggs. I know how hard it is at a club like this to stay at the highest level every year and only the best players and professionals can achieve it."

Forward Totti has made more than 700 appearances for AS Roma while retired winger Giggs, now assistant manager at United, played 963 times for the Old Trafford club.

Nigeria international Mikel echoed the sentiments of midfield partner Matic after Terry became the third player in Chelsea history, after Ron Harris (795) and Peter Bonetti (729), to reach 700 appearances.

"We've won so many trophies together, so many big games together, and to have had someone behind you who reads the game so well helps me a lot," said Mikel. "To reach 700 appearances for the club is a wonderful achievement.

"Every day in training it's as if he's playing for the very first time, putting his head on the line and defending balls. He always wants to win, that's just the way he is."

Saturday's loss means that, for the first time since Roman Abramovich became the club's owner in 2003, Premier League champions Chelsea's season is effectively over in March.

Out of the FA Cup and Champions League, and 10th in the Premier League, Chelsea will have little but pride to play for when they host London rivals West Ham United on Saturday.

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