Chelsea’s modern history has more or less than a handful of icons. Among them are the all-time top scorer Frank Lampard, the prolific front-man Didier Drogba, the controversially successful manager Jose Mourinho, and the long-time captain and defender, John George Terry.
Lampard left in 2014, Drogba had two stints but exited London and England in 2015, while Mourinho got cut a year after leading the club to the Premier League title for the third time in two stints.
If there was anyone who seemed to last, it was Terry, for he was the ever-present skipper, the consistent performer, the defender, the rock upon which Chelsea’s dominant run in the 21st century was founded on.
But alas, Father Time is undefeated, and Terry realized his aged and weathered body can no longer fulfil the daunting tasks his club have always given him. He and the West London club mutually agreed to end the marriage at the end of the season.
“I feel I still have plenty to offer on the pitch,” said the 36-year-old Terry. “But I understand that opportunities here at Chelsea will be limited for me.”
Chelsea’s new boss has only fielded Terry five times in the league this season, favoring younger teammates like vice-captain Gary Cahill, David Luiz and Cezar Azpilicueta.
The Barking, London native said he is ready to leave the club where he spent the last 22 years with, but is not ready to give up on his playing career yet.
“I’m eager to carry on playing, and so will be looking to continue with a new challenge,” said Terry in the joint statement with the club.
BLUE TO THE BONE
Apart from the six loan appearances he made for Nottingham Forrest in 2000, the only club Terry has played for are Chelsea.
Since making his debut as a 17-year-old in 1998, Terry has amassed 713 appearances for the club, including 578 with the armband.
“I will, of course, always be a Blue and am desperate to end my final season as a Chelsea player with more silverware,” added Terry.
He has lifted four Premier League titles, five FA Cups, three League cups, one Champions League title and one Europa League trophy in his two-decade stint with the club.
Chelsea made him the club’s Player of the Year in 2001 and 2006, and he was voted as the PFA Player’s Player of the Year in the 2004-2005 season.
He was a midfielder when he joined the Blues’ youth system aged 14 in 1995, but got shifted to the backline because of his physical gifts and positional knowhow. After finishing school, he underwent YTS for one year before signing a professional deal aged 17.
It was in the 2000-2001 season when Terry broke out as a top club defender, earning 23 starts and the first of his two club player of the year awards.
Terry got his first senior England team cap in 2003 and has earned a total of 78 appearances for the Three Lions. He was named captain twice, before bowing out of the international scene in 2012.