• Captain's armband embroidered with 'Unite Against Racism'
• Chelsea face formidable Champions League task in Donetsk
It is the shot that the photographers will want at the Donbass Arena on Tuesday night: John Terry, back in the Chelsea team for the vital Champions League tie against Shakhtar Donetsk, wearing a special captain's armband that is embroidered with the slogan "Unite Against Racism".
Armbands take the place of T-shirts in the next few days, as the Football Against Racism in Europe [Fare] continues its efforts to raise awareness during one of its action weeks in Uefa competition and Terry, as ever, finds himself central to the narrative.
He returns to Roberto Di Matteo's line-up three days after he served the first part of his four-match domestic ban against Tottenham Hotspur, which was meted out by the Football Association for his racist abuse of Queens Park Rangers' Anton Ferdinand on 23 October last year. Donetsk marks the most dubious of anniversaries.
It is to Di Matteo's weariness that the Terry question chases him remorselessly, even at 37,000 feet, on the team flight to Ukraine. He is desperate to draw a thick line under the controversy and, given that the various cases against Terry have run their course and the punishments have been set down, he might be getting closer to his wish.
"John has realised that he used language that was inappropriate, he has apologised for that and has certainly learned from that issue," Di Matteo said. "With good performances and good behaviour in the future, he should still be looked upon as the leader for our club. I've never been concerned about picking him.
"What is common for players is that, even if they have family problems or some kind of issues in their private life, they tend to be able to focus on the football. It kind of just helps them."
Di Matteo deserves credit for the serene way in which he has handled the Terry affair. Then again, it is difficult to know whether anything flusters him. Chelsea is a club that is synonymous with politics and outlandish story-lines and Di Matteo has been in the thick of them since he took over from André Villas-Boas's chaotic stewardship in March. His zen-like calm has been an asset.
"You get into a rhythm," Di Matteo said, when asked how he coped with the pressure. "I've had a good baptism, I have to say, from the day I took over last season. We don't get time to enjoy anything. After the win on Saturday [over Tottenham] by 10 o'clock in the evening you're thinking already about Shakhtar. At seven, seven-thirty on Sunday morning you're back in the office. You're switching straight on to the next game. I'm sleeping very well, though."
Di Matteo focuses only on the football. He is preoccupied with finding the balance between defence and attack, as the team's style becomes more expansive with the flair signings, Eden Hazard and Oscar, linking beautifully with Juan Mata.
Terry, who played in the training ground friendly against Arsenal last Wednesday to keep his fitness up, ought to help in the search for defensive security against Shakhtar.
Chelsea's Premier League results and performances have been hugely encouraging so far – 22 points from an available 24 has them clear at the top – and there is the sense that a new era is dawning. The club has slumped at around this time in the previous two seasons but Di Matteo said they had done "everything in our power and planning to help us get through this period".
The team's confidence will be tested by Shakhtar, who have won a Ukrainian record 21 consecutive league matches – nine at the end of last season, 12 at the beginning of this. The only time that they have failed to win this season was in a Champions League draw away to Juventus, when Di Matteo felt that they were unlucky. English teams have failed, in four collective attempts, to win in Donetsk.
The importance of the game to Chelsea has been framed by their home draw against Juventus and the presence of the Danish team, Nordsjaelland, whom everybody expects to beat twice. In a group with essentially three competitive sides Di Matteo feels that "you will probably need more than the 10 points that normally qualifies you".
Shakhtar's line-up is studded with quality, with four creative Brazilian players set to start, including the attacking midfielder Willian, whom Chelsea tried to sign last January. Tottenham made an unsuccessful bid for him over the summer. The Shakhtar manager, Mircea Lucescu, felt that Chelsea's offer had been derisory and he suggested that they would find out why he is valued at £25m.
"Chelsea offered the sum for which we bought him when he was only young," Lucescu said. "I would really like them to highly appreciate his true value in the game and realise that they made a big mistake."