MUNICH, May 20 — Chelsea's suspended captain John Terry missed the club's penalty shootout victory over Bayern Munich in the Champions League final on Saturday but still described the win as the best moment of his career.
The central defender was ruled out of the match at the Allianz Arena after being sent off in the semi-final second leg in Barcelona.
"This is an incredible feeling," Terry told reporters after Chelsea won the shootout 4-3 following a 1-1 draw after 120 minutes.
"I've waited eight or nine years for this moment and it wipes out all those bad memories from this competition. It's 100 per cent the top moment in my career."
The stunning victory at Bayern's home ground had made up for previous heartbreak in the Champions League, he said.
"In the past we've been knocked out in the last minute, lost on penalties to Manchester United in the 2008 final and twice we lost to Liverpool in the semi-finals but this victory takes a big weight off everyone's shoulders," added Terry.
"I can live with the fact I didn't play because we have won. That's all that matters to me because I care so much about this football club."
Terry thanked European soccer's ruling body UEFA for allowing him to join the team in the post-match celebrations and letting him lift the biggest trophy in European club football.
"To be involved was incredible," said the former Chelsea youth team product. "If I hadn't been involved it would have been very hard to take.
"Credit to UEFA for making the right decision to allow all four of our suspended players to be involved."
Even when Chelsea looked down and out earlier in the competition Terry said he had faith his team could land the Champions League trophy for the first time.
"You look back at the Napoli game in the first knockout round when we were 3-1 down from the first leg," he said.
"Everyone wrote us off but I believed in us and within the squad we all believed in each other. It's great we've got so many big players for big occasions, players like Didier Drogba, Fernando Torres, Frank Lampard and Petr Cech."
While his team mates had no doubt been under immense pressure on the pitch against the Germans, Terry said it was more difficult to look on from the sidelines than to be in the thick of the action.
"It's probably harder watching. You know then what the fans go through and it's really frustrating," he added.
"But it's great to see us win the trophy I think we have deserved, to see the smile that was on owner Roman Abramovich's face after the game and to see the fans at the end.
"We've won the Champions League and the FA Cup this season so we we'll go down as the best ever team in Chelsea's history and that's incredible." — Reuters