End of an era. Former England International and Chelsea Football Club legend John Terry has decided to bring down the curtain on his trophy-laden career after 24 years in the game. The 37 year-old who plans to move on to coaching like his former teammate Frank Lampard, took to Instagram to announce his decision.
The statement posted by Terry read:
"After 23 incredible years as a footballer, I have decided now is the right time for me to retire from playing."
"I want to thank my amazing teammates, coaches, managers and backroom staff, who I was honoured to work with and learn from. They all guided me on my way to playing 717 games for the club I love, and it was a privilege to serve them as captain.''
"They also helped me achieve my boyhood dream of playing for and captaining England, of which I am immensely proud.''
"I look forward to the next chapter in my life and the challenges ahead."
John Terry, who's contribution to Chelsea will be written in gold in the annals of club's rich history, is also the longest serving servant of the club with 492 appearances to his name.The defensive stalwart joined the youth ranks of the club at 14 years of age and went on to make his first-team debut in 1998 coming on a substitute in Chelsea's League Cup victory against Aston Villa.
Since then, the England International never looked and went on to carve his place in the hearts of the Stamford Bridge faithful with his stellar performances. John Terry was considered a no-nonsense defender and was known often put his body on the line for the team.
His passion for the game was rewarded with then manager, Jose Mourinho giving him captaincy duties after Marcel Desailly's retirement in the summer of 2004. And what enfolded after that as they is history. John Terry went on to lift 18 major trophies including five Premier League titles, the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League, making him the most successful captains the club has seen.
After spending 22 glorious years at Chelsea, the defender went on to ply his trade with Championship club Aston. Even though, John Terry was in his mid thirties at that time, he could've easily slotted in any Premier League club, but he chose to move to the lower tier of English football stating that he would be uncomfortable to face his beloved club.
Regarded as one of the fiercest and best defenders of his generations, John Terry's career was also marred by a series of off-field controversies. John Terry was stripped off national team captaincy after the English FA had charged him for racially abusing a QPR player Anton Ferdinand. He was also allegedly accused of having an extra-martial affair with the wife of former Chelsea team-mate Wayne Bridge.
However, his achievements as player completely overshadowed his off-field doings. Though, looking back, there maybe only one sour memory from his playing career where he famously slipped in the shootout of the Champions League final in 2008 to gift Manchester United the title.
Now, after winning almost every possible title that club football has to offer, the former England International plans to embark on a new challenge. If reports are to be believed, John Terry is considered the leading contenders to take up the mangers position at Aston Villa, with Arsenal legend Thiery Henry also in the running.