John Terry rejected a move to Spartak Moscow at the last minute after his daughter voiced her fears that polar bears roamed the streets and the Chelsea legend would “never return”, Italian agent Marco Trabucchi has revealed.
Terry had completed a medical with Spartak in Rome at the start of the 2018/19 season before a family summit made the free agent decide that a switch to Russia was “not the right move”.
He had been expected to sign a lucrative two-year contract to join his first club outside of the UK at the age of 37, but later issued a public apology to Spartak chairman Leonid Fedun in an about-turn that Trabbuchi claims was driven by daughter Summer becoming upset at school over Terry’s safety in Russia.
“The director of the school called John,” Trabbuchi told YouTube channel Comment Stop.
“[They] said that his daughter was falling to the floor, roaring [that] dad was leaving for Moscow, there were polar bears walking down the street and he would never return.”
Terry subsequently declined the contract offer from Spartak, praising the “ambitious” former Russian Premier League champions for their “professionalism” and wishing supporters well before adding: “Good luck Spartak.”
The former England captain returned to Aston Villa shortly afterwards, helping the club where he had spent the 2017-18 season to win promotion to the Premier League as assistant to new coach Dean Smith.
Terry’s flirtation with Russia signalled the end of his playing career after 20 years as a professional, including five Premier League trophies across almost 500 appearances with Chelsea, where he was a key influence on the pitch following the takeover of Roman Abramovich in 2003 that led to the Blues becoming a major force in England.
After missing out on Terry, Spartak ended the season without a trophy, finishing fourth in the league and departing the Europa League at the group stage after being knocked out of Champions League qualifying.
Speaking about Terry’s decision at the time, manager Massimo Carrera, who was dismissed the following month, admitted the aborted signing had left Spartak short of defensive options. “We tried to convince Terry,” he rued.
“I talked to him. He explained his decision.
“His priority was to stay with his family. He wanted to move but his family refused, so he stayed. We must respect his choice.
“Unfortunately our key central defender Gigot got injured. We don’t think it would be wise to sign a young player or someone not reliable enough. We were too much into this Terry thing. We thought we could convince him. It is all in the past now.”
Terry is still assistant at Villa, where he is attempting to help rescue the club from a relegation battle that has left them second-bottom of the Premier League and two points from safety with ten games of their season remaining.