LONDON • Guus Hiddink has judged John Terry's recent performances to be perfect and insisted the "door is not closed" for the captain to extend his Chelsea career into a 19th season despite the player having drawn his own conclusions at the lack of urgency over contract negotiations.
Terry was expected to start yesterday's Premier League game at Watford in what would be his 697th appearance for the London football club, having spoken at length to Hiddink since opting to reveal that he anticipates this to be his last campaign at Stamford Bridge.
The 35-year-old believes the club are waiting to discuss his situation with their new manager in the summer and no new deal is on the table despite Branislav Ivanovic recently being given a 12-month extension.
The centre-half therefore anticipates ending a 21-year association with Chelsea in May and, having entered the last six months of his contract, is free to negotiate with foreign teams and lucrative offers are anticipated from China, the Middle East and, possibly, Major League Soccer.
Yet, Hiddink has spoken to Terry and is assured the defender's commitment will not waver in the games ahead, with those talks having addressed the thorny issue of when the player's spell at the club is coming to an end.
The Dutchman said: "We spoke about it. For every player or manager, the age comes when you have to say goodbye.
"I must say John is doing perfectly in his performances, so I'm not suggesting anything, but we spoke about things. He can carry on, of course. He's fit. His ambition is enough to carry on."
The interim manager had indicated after the 3-3 draw with Everton, when Terry scored an early own-goal only to salvage a point with a stoppage-time equaliser, that he would advise the board to retain the centre-back beyond the summer.
He has also recommended the influence Terry may have on the coaching staff, particularly in inspiring the next generation of players to emerge from the club's academy.
"But generally I recommend what I think and people can do as they like. But it's not a closed door," said Hiddink.
"It was a bit surprising (that Terry chose to announce publicly that no offer would be forthcoming) but he's entitled to do what he did given his contract expires at the end of the season.
"On the other hand, the club still want to have the dialogue and to have an open door still."