London: Two years after it looked like his Stamford Bridge career was on its last legs, John Terry has been given the vote of confidence he craved.
The runaway Premier League leaders announced on Thursday the captain, known as `Mr Chelsea`, had been handed a new one-year contract that will keep him with the club until the age of 35.
Manager Jose Mourinho said the decision was not made out of loyalty or through deference to long service but simply because Terry`s performances merited it.
The centre half has been at his commanding best this year, a virtual ever-present at the back, a pillar of leadership strength and a prize asset at attacking corners and free kicks.
The short seven-month tenure of Rafa Benitez in season 2012-13 certainly seems a long time ago for Terry, who is playing so well this season that he must be a candidate for the Footballer of the Year award.
"This new contract is not to say `thank you very much`, it is because John continues to perform," Mourinho told the club website (www.chelseafc.com).
"He is a top defender. I am happy that he completely deserves this new contract after a season where he has already played 40 matches."
They were dark days under Benitez for Terry who, for the first time in his Chelsea career, was not regarded as a first-choice starter.
The former England captain did struggle with injuries in season 2012-13 but even when he was fit, Gary Cahill and David Luiz were the preferred options in central defence.
Terry did not have Benitez`s 100 percent trust and backing but that quickly changed when Mourinho returned for a second stint in charge at the beginning of last season.
The outspoken Portuguese acknowledged he had initial doubts about the skipper who served him so well when the pair linked up for successive Premier League title victories in 2005 and 2006 but they were soon dispelled.
Terry, for his part, said Mourinho has always known which buttons to press from the moment he first came to Stamford Bridge in 2004.
"He made a massive impact on the club, for sure. He made a group of players, good players at the time, feel like we were the best in the world," said the 6-foot-1 (1.87-metre) defender.
"Whether we were or not, we felt it...you could immediately tell he knew how to draw the best out of everyone. It`s just inspiring and, for me, there`s no better at drawing the best out of people than Jose Mourinho.
"He knows what makes me tick. He knows if I make a mistake he can tell me, some players you can`t. It`s about handling different players differently and he does it superbly," said Terry.
Mourinho has already bagged the League Cup trophy earlier this month and the next task for manager and captain is to preserve their six-point lead at the top of the table and go on to capture Chelsea`s first Premier League crown since 2010.
Beyond that Terry, who is third on the club`s all-time list with 661 appearances, will hope his legs can keep going long enough for him to surpass Peter Bonetti (729) and Ron Harris (795).