WHEN John Terry got the call from Stiliyan Petrov asking him to play at today´s Legends´ Match at Celtic Park, the Chelsea defender didn´t have to think twice before agreeing to take part.
His admiration for the Bulgarian midfielder as a footballer, and also for the way he has tackled his illness over the past year, meant that he was honoured to be asked to take part in this special event.
And as a fan of the Hoops, it´s also given him the opportunity to come up to Glasgow and play at Paradise, as he explained to the official Celtic website.
What’s your Celtic connection and how did you first become a Celtic fan?
My brother and I decided that we would choose an English team and a Scottish team each. I chose Chelsea and Celtic and my brother went for Rangers which meant we had plenty of rivalry growing up.
Have you been up to any games at Celtic Park?
I´ve never been up to just watch a game live but have seen quite a few games on TV and the atmosphere is always electric.
How do you think Neil Lennon’s side will do in this season’s UEFA Champions League?
They have been handed a very tough group, but one thing that Neil and his side have shown is that you can never write them off in any game. They have made Celtic Park a fortress over the years and this will be critical for them again this season.
Were you able to watch Celtic’s victory over Barcelona last season?
I try and watch all Champions League games, as long as it´s not on the same night as our games, of course. It was a very good victory against one of the best teams in world football. It´s important for me to watch these games as we could well come up against either team in the competition.
How did your involvement in Stiliyan’s charity game come about?
I´ve known Stiliyan from playing against him over the past years and once Chelsea were contacted to ask whether I could play it was an easy decision for me to make. It´s a privilege to be asked to be involved and it´s fantastic what the club are doing for Stiliyan. It shows how much he is thought of by everyone connected with Celtic.
Having played against Stiliyan in the Premier League, what was he like as an opponent?
Stiliyan is a great man on and off the pitch. When he plays he is all-action and never gave you a minute´s peace and his desire to win and succeed is phenomenal and a mark of the man he is.
Have you ever played at Celtic Park before and, if not, how much are you looking forward to it?
No I have never played there before so I´m really looking forward to experiencing the whole atmosphere that the fans will generate for Stiliyan.