It felt very good… Terry relieved to get back in Chelsea colours after court nightmare
09:20 GMT, 23 July 2012
Nine days after his acquittal in London on racism charges, John Terry ran onto the field at Yankee Stadium back in his familiar blue Chelsea kit instead of a business suit.
Thousands of Blues supporters behind the first-base dugout rose to their feet and cheered. 'It felt very good,' Terry said after the game, giving a thumbs-up and then walking away after the European champions' 1-1 friendly draw against Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday night.
Terry was acquitted of a 'racially aggravated public order offence' on July 13 in Westminster Magistrates' Court, accused of making racist remarks to Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League game last October. The 31-year-old defender still could face charges from the Football Association.
Back in blue: John Terry (centre) in action against Paris Saint-Germain at Yankee Stadium, New York
'John will always be a hero for Chelsea fans. Quite rightly so, the way he's done on the pitch,' midfielder Frank Lampard said.
Terry was stripped of the England captaincy by the FA in February after he was charged, a move that prompted then boss Fabio Capello to quit.
'He's come through the ranks of our club and he's an icon. He's just happy he can move on and play football again,' Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo said.
A match-up of two of the world's wealthiest clubs featured 20 substitutions and drew a crowd of 38,202 to the $1.5 billion granite-and-limestone stadium, which opened in 2009.
An overwhelmingly blue-clad, pro-Chelsea crowd made Yankee Stadium feel a bit like Stamford Bridge, with six sections of loud Blues supporters behind the first-base dugout, opposite five rows of PSG fans at the front of the left-field bleachers.
Cheerleader: Terry congratulates Lucas Piazon (left) on his equaliser against the French side
Chelsea fans hung the familiar 'JT Captain, Leader, Legend' and 'Born Is The King' banners from the back wall of the Legends Suite section behind the Yankees dugout.
Lucas Piazon, the 18-year-old Brazilian forward who signed for Chelsea last year but has yet to play a competitive match, came on in the 65th minute and levelled the score late on after exchanging passes with Ramires on a counter-attack down the right flank.
'He's definitely one to watch for the future,' Di Matteo said.
Chelsea have won three Premier League titles since Roman Abramovich took control in 2003 and last May added a first Champions League crown.
Let's play ball: Terry was playing in the first football match staged inside Yankee Stadium
Football's ante was upped when Manchester City were bought in 2008 by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan's Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment, and that team won its first Premier League title in 40 years last season.
Then PSG were purchased last year by the Qatar Investment Authority, which last winter hired Carlo Ancelotti shortly after he was fired by Chelsea.
PSG have added Ezequiel Lavezzi, Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic this summer, even as UEFA have been phasing in Financial Fair Play rules, designed to prevent teams from operating at a huge loss.
'Chelsea was one of the best teams in Europe, and Paris Saint-Germain wants to be one of the best teams in Europe,' Ancelotti said.
It's a wonderful town: Chelsea fans enjoy their trip to the Big Apple to watch the Blues in pre-season
'To reach the highest level in Europe, you have to spend money. You have to do investment. Chelsea made this investment 10 years ago, and they are at the top. Paris Saint-Germain started last year. We want to be quickly at the top of European football.'
Only Lavezzi has appeared during the pre-season, with Ibrahimovic scheduled to report on Tuesday following his acquisition from AC Milan.
'It's good for Ligue 1 and for the Champions League. I'm sure they're going to be a force,' Di Matteo said. 'These things happen to football now, and people take over and they invest a lot of money.'
With a relatively old squad, Chelsea are in transition. Eden Hazard and Marko Marin have been added while Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and Jose Boswinga have departed following a sixth-place Premier League finish that went along with the surprising Champions League title.
Back to the day job: Terry has spent his summer at Euro 2012 with England and then battling charges in court
Chelsea were without Fernando Torres, Juan Mata, Raul Meireles and Daniel Sturridge, all players who should see regular action this season. They missed appearing on a field that was slightly narrow and short by European standards. The infield dirt, basepaths and mound area were covered with grass, which will be removed before the Yankees return home to start a series against Boston on Friday.
Most of the stands were 20-30 yards from the sidelines. It was strange for many seeing a football field in a stadium built for baseball.
'I couldn't quite imagine how it was going to happen,' Lampard said.