Chelsea and England legend John Terry has announced his retirement from the game of football after a successful 23-year spell, most of which was spent as the Blues’ captain.
Terry, who lifted the Premier League title with the Londoners last year, moved to Aston Villa upon the expiration of his contract, despite several offers to remain in the English top flight, given his desire to never have to face the Blues.
It was hoped that the player would return to Villa for at least one more season, while Spartak Moscow attempted to lure him to Russia over the summer as well.
But on Sunday, the defender dropped a bombshell via his Instagram, announcing his decision to retire from football altogether.
“After 23 incredible years as a footballer, I have decided that now is the right time to retire from playing,” he posted under a photo of himself holding the Premier League trophy in front of the Stamford Bridge faithful.
“I have many people to thank,” he continued.
“My wife Toni and my two children, Georgie and Summer, for being my rocks throughout my career – I couldn’t have done it without you, I love you with all my heart.
“I thank my parents, Sue and Ted, for the sacrifices they made for me as a boy, giving me the best opportunity to fulfil my dream and become a professional footballer.
“My brother, Paul, for his help and advice throughout my career – and all my family and friends for their great support.
“As a 14-year-old, I made my best and biggest decision: to sign for Chelsea Football Club. Words will never be enough to show how much everyone at the club means to me, particularly the fans.
“Right from the outset they have given me total support, on and off the pitch, and I have a tremendous bond with them.
“We achieved so many great memories together and I couldn’t have succeeded without you. To me, you are the best fans in the world. I hope I have done you all proud wearing the shirt and the armband.”
Terry, undoubtedly one of the finest centre-backs of his generation, joined the Blues as a 14-year-old in 1995 and made his senior debut in 1998. He was named Chelsea’s captain by Jose Mourinho in 2004 and retained the armband until his departure in 2017.
The 37-year-old also served as England’s captain during his career as a defender, retiring from international football in 2012..
To date, Terry remains the only academy graduate to become a Blues regular. And his time at Chelsea saw him help the club win five Premier League titles and the Champions League trophy, as well as five FA Cups, three League Cups and the Europa League.
The ex-Blues and England skipper made 702 appearances for Chelsea, scoring 65 goals to become the Premier League’s highest-ever scoring defender. He also scored six goals in 78 caps for the Three Lions.
Terry, Chelsea’s most successful captain, will be fondly remembered by Blues fans and will remain a legend in English football. His contributions as both a Chelsea man and a footballer, in general, won’t soon be forgotten.