Chelsea star John Terry has been told there is life beyond Stamford Bridge by his former partner in central defence and predecessor as club captain, Marcel Desailly.
Terry, now 35, had been expected to leave Chelsea this summer, with a move abroad considered his more likely option, but the Englishman accepted new manager Antonio Conte’s offer of a one-year contract last month.
Desailly, who left Chelsea in 2004 after six seasons with the London club, mentored Terry when he became a first-team regular in 2000 and the pair are still on good terms.
“He is still the leader and maybe Conte met him and realised that John is still ready to sacrifice everything for the club,” said the 47-year-old Desailly, who also captained France during a glittering career.
“John doesn’t have to be first choice but keeping him is good for the continuity of the team.
“So I am very happy for him but it would also have been good for him to experience something else.
“I know from my own experience that it’s good on a personal level and for your family.
“My message to him would be that it’s great to experience another country, another life.
“I was talking to (former Real Madrid striker) Raul about it recently and he said (moving to the US) was good for him and his kids.
“And Frank Lampard never thought he’d leave (Chelsea) but he went to America and he’s seen another approach to life.”
The Ghana-born Desailly, who enjoyed successful spells in France, Italy and England, before finishing his playing career in Qatar, was speaking in Paris at an event to mark Danish brewing giant Carlsberg’s sponsorship of Euro 2016.
Terry, who lifted his fourth Premier League trophy in 2015, was repeatedly linked with moves to China, Major League Soccer or the Middle East during a difficult 2015-16 campaign for him and his team. And in January he said he was unlikely to get his “fairy-tale ending” of retiring as a one-club player.
But with his undisputed leadership qualities, solid performances when fit and popularity with the fans, Conte has decided to keep Terry on as cover for whoever he brings in to complement England defender Gary Cahill and young Frenchman Kurt Zouma.