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English Premiership

Terry on salvage mission

LONDON, February 11- Troubled Chelsea star John Terry on Thursday boarded a flight to Dubai, where his wife has taken refuge from a media storm over the former England captain's reported affair with an underwear model.
Terry was stripped of the national team’s captaincy last week following newspaper reports of an extra-marital relationship with Vanessa Perroncel, the former partner of England team-mate Wayne Bridge, and other indiscretions.

The centreback has been granted a long weekend break by his club in order to facilitate what the Guardian described as his "date with the doghouse in Dubai."

Toni Terry, the mother of his toddler twins, could claim a huge chunk of Terry’s current fortune and future income if she decides to divorce the defender, who earns 170,000 pounds a week at Chelsea.

Terry is reported to be determined to save his marriage and is hoping for a St Valentine’s Day reconciliation with his long-term partner, whom he married in 2007.

The 29-year-old looked sombre as he was escorted to the plane at London’s Heathrow airport shortly after 0830GMT, wearing blue jeans and a white, hooded top.

Chelsea have given Terry the weekend off as they are involved in an FA Cup tie against Championship side Cardiff from which some of their top players would have been rested in any case.

Terry had performed well for his club in the first two matches he played after the news of his alleged affair broke, but there were signs that the strain of the last few weeks was beginning to take its toll during Wednesday evening’s match at Everton

Terry’s mistakes contributed to both Everton goals in their 2-1 victory and Chelsea’s assistant manager Ray Wilkins confirmed after the match that club boss Carlo Ancelotti had agreed to him taking a break.

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"John will not play this weekend. Carlo is giving him a bit of time off," Wilkins said. "He will come back and prepare for our game against Wolves (on the 20th). They just had a little chat, John and Carlo, and decided that would be the best for all concerned."

Chelsea’s management and supporters and Terry’s team-mates have all rallied strongly behind the player with Ancelotti making it clear that the player’s private life will have no bearing on his status at the club.

That was reflected in the way Wilkins played down the uncharacteristic lapses of concentration that allowed Louis Saha to claim both of Everton’s goals on Wednesday.

"You have got to give Louis Saha credit – he is a very tough opponent to play against," said Wilkins. "John has been outstanding for us all season. If it was down to his mistakes it was the slightest of blips."

Terry may be hoping his wife takes a similar view of his conduct off the field.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter meanwhile has delivered a withering verdict on the Terry saga, suggesting that the beleaguered player would have enjoyed a much easier time of it if he had been born French, Spanish or Italian.

"Listen, this is a special approach in the Anglo-Saxon countries," Blatter told Britain’s national news agency, the Press Association, in Vancouver.

"If this had happened in let’s say Latin countries then I think he would have been applauded."

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