Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes John Terry is capable of emulating Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs – by playing on until he's 40.
Terry, who turns 33 today, has already made as many Premier League appearances this season as he did throughout the entire 2012/13 campaign – and Mourinho feels Terry could go on to achieve what the likes of Javier Zanetti and Giggs have, providing he stays focused and continues to work hard.
"At this age, it's a thing of going year after year," Mourinho told reporters when asked whether Terry was capable of emulating Giggs. "At this age, sometimes players reach a level of stability where they become the same. I look at Zanetti in 2008 and Zanetti in 2012, and he was the same. These guys have to enjoy the moment and play with the same ambition.
"They can't be worried about contracts, or time left on their contract, or one more pound or less pound in their contract, but enjoy it to the last day. When they play this way, it's no problem."
Mourinho revealed that Terry had been affected after spending much of last season on the Chelsea bench under interim manager Rafael Benitez, but the Portuguese coach admitted that the Blues' talismanic skipper has exceeded even his expectations.
"John's self-esteem had been affected last season. He was a bit affected. I think he felt, in a quiet way, the pain of doubts about him," Mourinho added. "So I told him I'm not here to help him. I'm not here to give him anything he doesn't deserve. But I said: 'I believe if you work really hard from day one, I think you have a chance to play more than you did last season.'
"I was far from thinking he'd play the first 14 matches consecutively, but he's doing well, working and behaving well, and I'm pleased with him."
Indeed, Terry has not missed a single minute of Premier League football this season, and appears to be enjoying a new lease of life since Mourinho returned to Stamford Bridge in the summer.