Former Chelsea player John Terry has today announced his retirement from football, after a playing career that lasted 23 years.
Terry announced his decision on his his Instagram account on Sunday evening, taking the opportunity to thank everyone who has helped him during his career.
In his statement on social media, he said, “After 23 incredible years as a footballer, I have decided now is the right time to retire from playing. I look forward to the next chapter in my life and the challenges ahead.”
During his illustrious playing career, he played for only three clubs. He spent 22 years at his beloved Chelsea, as well as a loan spell at Nottingham Forest in 1999. In his statement he expressed his gratitude for the club, saying, “I am grateful for my loan spell at Nottingham Forest in 1999, which was invaluable for my development as a youth player”
At the end of his career, he spent his last season with Aston Villa. In May 2018, he helped them to the Championship play-offs before agonisingly falling to a 1-0 defeat to Fulham. Following that, he chose not to renew his one-year contract.
Terry was on the verge of signing for a new club last month, as he undertook a medical with Russian club Spartak Moscow. However, he decided to decline their offer, saying on Instagram that he wanted to do what was best for himself and his family.
He also had a decorated international career, winning 78 caps for England. He also captained the national side on many occasions, playing for them at two World Cups and two European Championships.
The 37 year old spent 22 years at Stamford Bridge, winning every single major honour. The 17 honours consists of five Premier Leagues, five FA Cups, three League Cups, two Community Shields, the Europa League and most importantly, the Champions League in 2012.
Across the 19 years, he made 717 appearances for Chelsea, putting him third in all time appearances for the club behind fellow legends Ron Harris and Peter Bonetti. As well as this, he scored 67 goals in his time in blue, more than any defender at the club.
He won an astounding amount of major honours at Chelsea, but also many personal honours. These included four appearances in the PFA Team of the Year, three UEFA Club Defender of the Year awards, and four consecutive appearances in the FIFA FIFPro World XI.
He said, “I hope I have done you all proud wearing the shirt and the armband. My club career and heart will always belong to Chelsea”
“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”
Chelsea’s website puts it perfectly, in a section where they acknowledge the greatest ever players at the club. “John Terry is the most successful player in Chelsea’s history, the man who captained the Blues more than anyone else, and is inarguably one of the greatest defenders England has ever produced.”
So, what’s next for him? Terry has spoken many times of returning to Chelsea as a coach, and he is currently completing his coaching licenses. This year, he has been coming back to Cobham Training Ground to help with the development and youth squads, helping and training with him.
For many young Chelsea fans, myself included, he was the only Chelsea captain we had known up until last season. I had never known anyone else to wear the armband for the club, so his retirement is of even bigger significance for me. I am so lucky to have been able to grow up as a Chelsea fan watching him play.
He always played with his heart in his mouth, and loved Chelsea Football Club unlike anyone else. It has been weird getting used to his absence at the club, and now we must deal with his absence from football. For now at least.
John Terry has left a lasting legacy not just on Chelsea Football Club, but on football. Despite a string of controversies, he is one of the greatest footballers in the history of England, and one of the best to wear the Blue of Chelsea. He will most likely be back at Stamford Bridge in the near future.
On behalf of myself and all Chelsea fans and football fans, thank you for everything, John: Captain, Leader, Legend.