• Chelsea captain ready to return from international retirement
• Lure of World Cup finals proves impossible to resist
John Terry is ready to end his self-imposed retirement from the England set-up and he is targeting a swansong at the World Cup finals in Brazil.
The Chelsea centre-half won his 78th cap in the comfortable qualifying success in Moldova at the start of the season but quit the national side in September as the Football Association pursued its own disciplinary process against him for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand during Chelsea's defeat by Queens Park Rangers in October 2011.
The 32-year-old had already been cleared of a racially aggravated public order offence, stemming from that incident, at Westminster magistrates court immediately after Euro 2012.
Terry, who had admitted using the words "fucking black cunt" but claimed he had been repeating them back to the QPR defender in indignation, claimed his position had been rendered "untenable", given he had been under the impression that the governing body would not pursue disciplinary action against him if he was cleared in a court of law.
The wounds caused by the issue were reopened last week when the Chelsea captain refused to shake the hand of David Bernstein, the outgoing FA chairman, at the Champions League trophy handover ceremony at Whitehall's Banqueting House.
That is believed to have been the first time the player and chairman had come face to face since the FA's independent tribunal fined Terry £220,000 and banned him for four games for racially abusing Ferdinand.
But, with Bernstein turning 70 next month and due to step down at the FA in July, Terry is keen to reverse his decision on his international future and wants to be considered for selection again by Roy Hodgson.
Terry had watched frustrated as Rio Ferdinand, Michael Dawson and Gary Cahill all dropped out of the national squad before the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro last month.
With the national team's progress to the World Cup still far from assured – they are second in Group H, with crucial games awaiting in the autumn – Terry believes he still has a role to play if the management retain faith in his ability.
That raises the possibility Terry could be involved in the friendly internationals against the Republic of Ireland at Wembley on 29 May and Brazil in Rio de Janeiro on 2 June.
It is understood Terry, who had been stripped of the England captaincy by Bernstein while awaiting trial – a decision that prompted Fabio Capello's resignation – remains in contact with Hodgson. The England manager is a regular visitor to Chelsea's Cobham training ground, given the contingent of his other players within the club's ranks, yet whether he would be willing to revisit such a divisive issue remains to be seen.
While Terry would have no qualms about playing alongside Rio Ferdinand, Anton's brother, it is unclear whether the Manchester United player would be similarly minded given his own anger at everything his sibling was put through.
Ferdinand was omitted for Euro 2012, a month before Terry's trial, for "football reasons" according to Hodgson, although the suspicion lingers that the manager was keen to avoid a flashpoint in the dressing room having opted to take the Chelsea player to Ukraine and Poland.
Now, with Ferdinand having been selected for the qualifiers in San Marino and Podgorica – he withdrew due to the particular nature of his personal fitness programme – there is the prospect of both being available for Hodgson when he selects his squad next month for the end-of-season games.
The FA could yet decide Terry must also serve a suspension with the national team as a result of the disciplinary commission finding him guilty of "using abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour". A two-game international ban was mooted, only for Terry to pre-empt any decision by retiring.
The current captain, Steven Gerrard, who is expected to undergo shoulder surgery at the end of Liverpool's campaign and will miss those matches, is believed to have no objections to the return of either Terry or Ferdinand to the England ranks, with all the national team's senior players recognising Brazil as a last opportunity to play in a major tournament for their country.
Terry must convince Hodgson that his form justifies inclusion. He has endured a difficult season at Chelsea after injuring a knee against Liverpool in November on his return from that domestic suspension. It led to him being ruled out for two months and he has not been a regular under Rafael Benítez, the interim manager, at Stamford Bridge in the period since.
He has made only nine Premier League starts and is likely to begin on the bench against Swansea on Sunday. His contract is entering its final year and, with no talks under way over an extension, the signs are that his standing at the club is on the wane.