John Terry could be in for a repeat of the ridicule he suffered when Chelsea won the Champions League last season.
The Blues skipper watched his team’s shock win over Bayern Munich in his suit in the Allianz Arena’s executive suite, and then changed into his kit to lift the trophy.
In the months after, the image of Terry lifting ‘big ears’ was gleefully photoshopped all over the shop, like into pictures commemorating the royal wedding, Andy Murray’s US Open victory and even the Yalta Conference of 1945.
If Chelsea win the Europa League tonight, it will be more of the same. The ankle injury Terry sustained against Aston Villa at the weekend will force him to watch the match against Benfica from the Amsterdam Arena stands. But the club says he will lift the trophy if they win.
More bad news for the Blues is that their Belgian star, Eden Hazard, has finally been ruled out of the match due to the hamstring injury he too suffered against Villa.
What the duel absence of Terry and Hazard means is that Frank Lampard will fill both a midfield role and the skipper’s spot in the Blues line-up.
Lamps became Chelsea’s all-time top goalscorer last weekend, but somehow his future at the club remains in doubt, despite his legendary status.
Lifting the Europa League trophy as skipper could enhance the prolific midfielder’s bid to remain at the club he has served so well, or it could be his chance to go out in a blaze of glory.
Speaking of his promotion to the captaincy and Terry’s misfortune at missing out on another European final, Lampard said last night: "It's very unfortunate.
"But when we have been here a long time, trying to win cups and leagues, I don't think it matters too much if you are winning them as an individual or not because you've been involved in the process.
“That would be the same this time if we win. It was the same last year with John and anyone who is suspended or injured: you win it together and, as captain of the club John will be right up there."