John Terry was ready. His shirt was pristine. There was not a bead of sweat on his brow. He even had his shinpads and sock tape on. At last he was set to get his hands on the Champions League trophy, something he had dreamt about his entire career. Little did he know that was also about to become one of the world's first truly viral memes. Full kit John Terry was born, and the Internet went wild.
More than two hours before Terry stepped forward in his fresh Chelsea gear it was all about the football, rather than the footballer. For only the fourth time in history, a team would play a European Cup final in their home stadium and Bayern Munich were heavy favourites to lift the trophy for the fifth time. But the Germans hadn’t banked on an unfancied Chelsea side spoiling their party.
Tonight the Londoners will take on Bayern in the Champions League and memories of the Blues’ most famous night will come flooding back. On the 19 May 2012, against all odds, Roberto Di Matteo took his side to Munich for the final and won the biggest prize in club football.
The Blues had hung on in there throughout that European campaign and somehow stumbled their way through to the semi-finals. They looked down and out in the last sixteen against Napoli before mounting an epic Stamford Bridge comeback to fight their way back in extra-time before disposing of Benfica to set up a mouth-watering semi-final against Barcelona.
Simply put, Barca were the best team in the world at that time and one of the greatest teams ever. Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and more. They were the reigning European champions and despite having lost the first leg 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, most people presumed Messi and co would have too much for Chelsea. They were wrong.
John Terry got himself sent off with an out of character kick out on Alexis Sanchez and Barcelona took a 2-0 lead, but despite this, Chelsea fought on. Their captain would watch the final from the sidelines but Ramires gave them hope of getting there by chipping Victor Valdes before Messi missed a penalty and then the moment we all remember. With Barca pushing forward Fernando Torres broke clear and well… Gary Neville's commentary stole the show.
So the scene was set. Chelsea would take on Munich in a bid to win their very first European Cup. Despite missing their influential captain Terry through suspension along with Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires and Raul Meireles the interim manager cobbled together a side who stuck to their task against a truly elite side, who would go on to win the Champions League the following season.
Ryan Bertrand was at Chelsea for nine years but made just two starts in the Champions League. One of those, his European debut came in a Champions League final. Out of position, on the left of midfield, Bertrand played a blinder before being replaced by Florent Malouda.
In defence, Gary Cahill returned to partner David Luiz and in the absence of captain Terry, of course it was Frank Lampard who took the armband, although his England teammate would steal the show after the final whistle.
Salomon Kalou played on the left with Juan Mata behind the main man that was none other than Didier Drogba. Playing his final game for Chelsea, he yet again produced his best performance in the big game.
Bayern’s team was packed full of talent. Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Muller, Robben and Ribery made up a deadly midfield while Manuel Neuer, Phillip Lahm and Jerome Boateng were also in-form, playing their best football during that campaign. On paper, Chelsea had no chance.
It is not an understatement to believe that that year, destiny appeared to carry Chelsea to the title. The final was one-way traffic. Bayern had 35 shots to Chelsea’s nine. They had more possession, made fewer fouls and even missed a penalty in extra-time. It just wasn’t meant to be for the hosts.
That didn’t seem to be the case when Thomas Muller had finally made the breakthrough with a header in the 83rd minute but the big man popped up again to take the game to extra-time. Bayern had 20 corners in that final, Chelsea had just one. It was swung in by Mata, when the game looked lost in the 88th minute and Drogba rose the highest to power the ball past Neuer.
Again, there seemed to be a sense of magic in the air, even when Bayern Munich were awarded a penalty in extra-time. Drogba, much more effective in the opposition box than his own, clumsily tripped Franck Ribery to give Robben the chance to win the game. This time it was Cech who kept the trophy within reach as he got down low to stop the driven penalty.
Everything seemed against Chelsea that night. Even the penalties for the shootout were taken in front of the Bayern fans. Then Juan Mata missed Chelsea’s first penalty to the delight of those fans in red. The tie was once again in the favour of the Bavarians. Even Neuer scored his penalty as Chelsea looked desperately for hope. Luckily for them, they had a man possessed between the sticks. First Cech saved Olic’s penalty before he got a finger to Schweinsteiger’s as it came back off the post.
Match point. In Moscow four years previously it had been the Chelsea captain Terry who slipped and let Manchester United off the hook. This time there would be no mercy from Didier Drogba. The man for the big occasion. He rolled the ball into the back of the net to send the travelling fans wild and spark wild scenes on the pitch.
One unforgettable image of that final was of Frank Lampard screaming his way towards the fans as his teammates ran to celebrate with Cech. Iconic. But next John Terry stepped up, stripped off and stole the show.
"I've got shin pads, tape, the lot, I went for it," Terry explained during an appearance on popular sport-comedy TV panel show 'A League of Their Own'. "I dreamed of that for years. After what happened in Moscow for me personally, to see the delight among the players we had, the squad we had and the fans too, it meant everything to me. I thought it was only right I was part of the celebrations."
The defender was instantly called out on social media for his actions, with wins fans mocking him up in other sporting gear to celebrate winning different events. While others added the controversial star to an array of historic events as if he had claimed credit for being part of the action, including the moon landing, the Last Supper, on the Berlin Wall and with Nelson Mandela on his release from prison. It was relentless.
But even his antics and the Internet couldn't take away the greatest night in the history of Chelsea Football Club.