LONDON (REUTERS) - Jose Mourinho has assured Chelsea fans that John Terry, subject of a "captain, leader, legend" banner that is on permanent display at Stamford Bridge, will be at the English Premier League club next season.
The 34-year-old centre-half, who scored the opening goal in Sunday's 2-0 League Cup final victory over London rivals Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley, has a one-year contract that expires at the end of the season.
"I know what my board tells me and the player tells me and there's no doubt he is going to get his (new) contract before the end of the season," manager Mourinho told a news conference ahead of Wednesday's Premier League game at West Ham United. "What I can guarantee is he'll be a Chelsea player next season."
Mourinho said there would soon come a moment when the club think seriously about Terry's successor but that time had not yet arrived.
"John is proving again this season that he is a player for years," the Portuguese explained.
"Last season he was good. This season he's even better so he has time to enjoy his football with us and at the same time we can think of what's coming next.
"These big guys are difficult to replace but you have to think 'what next?' and I think that is the best way to do things."
Terry joined Chelsea as a schoolboy in 1995 and has made more than 600 appearances at the heart of their defence.
Not only has the former England captain been an imposing presence at the back, he has also been a constant threat at set pieces in opposition penalty areas.
Terry has a remarkable goal record for a defender and Sunday's effort was his 63rd for Chelsea.
The 2012 Champions League winners are five points clear and have a game in hand over second-placed Manchester City ahead of this week's fixtures.
Mourinho refused to give details of the side he would select but did say he would not field the same team that beat Spurs.