Ancelotti wants Terry to stay ‘forever’

LONDON: Carlo Ancelotti said today his top priority at Chelsea is winning the Champions League, and remained confident that captain John Terry will stay with the team “forever.”

He also announced that the club had signed Yuri Zhirkov from CSKA Moscow, in a move to strengthen the midfield.

At his first news conference with the London club, the Italian manager spoke in comfortable English and littered his responses with quips.

He initially deadpanned that Terry may not remain captain — amid speculation the defender may accept an offer from Manchester City — but then quickly declared he was joking. “John Terry is a symbol of this team,” Ancelotti said. “He will be captain next season. He said he wants to stay forever and we want to keep him for

ever. Now there is a question of Manchester City, but for Terry there is no price. Terry will be at Chelsea forever.”

Ancelotti is Chelsea’s fifth manager in less than two years, and how long he lasts will largely depend on his ability to deliver in the Champions League. And Ancelotti — a two-time winner in his eight years at AC Milan — knows it. “I am here to win the Champions League,” he said. “I think this is the great competition.”

Ancelotti is replacing Guus Hiddink, who reached the semi-finals last year. In less than four months, Hiddink revitalised the team after Luiz Felipe Scolari was fired midseason, and won the FA Cup before returning to coach Russia. Ancelotti was unveiled by Chelsea on Monday almost exactly a year after Scolari was hailed as the manager to repeat the successes Jose Mourinho achieved between 2005 and 2007.

While Mourinho won the Premier League twice, he could not get beyond the last four of the Champions League. Avram Grant was fired despite reaching the 2008 final, and Scolari struggled to steer the Blues out of the group stage.