Former Chelsea defender John Terry has announced his retirement from football after a long and successful career at the highest level.
The 37-year-old has confirmed he’ll be hanging up his boots and awaiting new challenges, which could mean a quick move into coaching as the Guardian and others link him with a role at Aston Villa.
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For now, however, Terry has released an emotional statement on his Instagram page reflecting on his career and sending a particularly strong message of thanks to Chelsea, with whom he spent the bulk of his playing days.
The former England international also made special mention of his most recent club Aston Villa, and even name-checked Nottingham Forest, with whom he played six games on loan all the way back in the 1999/00 season.
The statement read: “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, in particular 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.
“My club career and heart will always belong to Chelsea, but I am grateful for my loan spell at Nottingham Forest in 1999, which was invaluable for my development as a young player.
“And I also want to say a huge thank you to Aston Villa for giving me the opportunity to play at such a big club and captain it throughout the 2017-18 season.
“It was a privilege to represent such a renowned football club with great fans.
“I look forward to the next chapter in my life and the challenges ahead.”
Terry’s career has not been without its ups and downs, but he will undoubtedly go down as one of the finest players to ever play in this country after leading Chelsea to so much success.
A commanding and intelligent centre-back in his prime, Terry won five Premier League titles, five FA Cups, three League Cups, the Champions League and the Europa League, with most of those coming as Blues captain.
And just like that, we will never see Frank Lampard or John Terry play professional football again.
How are we supposed to deal with that? They don’t make them like those two anymore. ?? pic.twitter.com/7QmmJj5byk
— Talk Chelsea (@talkchelsea) October 7, 2018