Carlo Ancelotti has compared John Terry to Paolo Maldini and backed Chelsea's skipper to continue playing until he is 40.
Ancelotti worked closely with AC Milan legend Maldini, considered one of the greatest defenders of all time, during his spell as coach of the Serie A giants.
Following an incredible career spanning 25 years at the San Siro, Maldini retired at the end of last season, shortly before his 41st birthday. Terry, also a product of his club's academy, is 28 and Ancelotti is confident he has at least another decade left at Stamford Bridge.
''The careers of Maldini and Terry can be compared. They are very close. They are both very professional,'' said the Chelsea boss. ''Like Paolo I think John can continue playing until he is 39 or 40 because he has no physical problems.
''Paolo was very quick and strong and I don't see much of a difference between him and John. ''John has a lot of patience and this is the most important thing if you want to continue until you are 39 or 40.
''Now, with the right preparation, physical training and injury prevention, the age of players has got older. I think that players can continue to 35, 36 without a problem.''
Chelsea hope to tie Joe Cole down to a new contract soon with Ancelotti deciding his best position is in support of the strikers, not down the left where he has played in more recent times.
''The best position for Joe is to play behind the forwards as an offensive midfielder,'' he said. ''He has the quality to play there because he is very good at dribbling and passing. But he can also play in left or right midfield because he's a dynamic player.''