Chelsea have announced that captain John Terry will leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season.
The 36-year-old has won 14 major honours at Stamford Bridge after making his first-team debut in 1998, having risen through the youth ranks. But he has been a bit-part player for the Blues this season, featuring in just five Premier League games for Antonio Conte’s league leaders.
“After 22 years there is so much to say and so many people to thank at this great football club,” Terry said in a club statement.
“From coaches, teammates and staff to the fans who have given me so much support down the years, I can’t thank you enough. There will be opportunities for me to speak further about this over the coming weeks.”
But Terry stopped short of announcing his retirement.
‘I will decide on my future in due course, but for now I am committed to helping the team achieve success this season,” he said.
“The club and I have always had a fantastic relationship, which will continue beyond my playing days. We had some really positive talks but with everything taken into careful consideration I have decided it’s the right time for me to leave. I’ve always been conscious that I depart at the right time, in the right way, and I feel that the end of this season is the right time for the club and I.
“I feel I still have plenty to offer on the pitch but understand that opportunities here at Chelsea will be limited for me. I’m eager to carry on playing and so will be looking to continue with a new challenge. I will of course always be a Blue and am desperate to end my final season as a Chelsea player with more silverware.”
Terry made 713 appearances for Chelsea’s first team, the third most in club history — and served as captain a record 578 times. He scored 66 goals as a center-back.
Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia said Terry helped the Blues “grow into one of the world’s top clubs” and said he would be welcomed back in another role in the future..
“Everyone at Chelsea would like to place on record our thanks to John for all he has done for this football club,” Granovskaia said. “He has been an outstanding player, inspirational captain and has always demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the cause.”
Everybody at Stamford Bridge would like to express our enormous gratitude to John and wish him the very best of luck for the future. pic.twitter.com/Yo9NrXNBMs
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 17, 2017