Chelsea captain John Terry has announced that he will leave the west London club at the end of the season, in an emotional statement posted on the club's official website.
The former West Ham youth player joined the Blues at the age of just 14, 22 years before Monday evening's announcement - in which he insisted that he hopes to continue his playing career.
John Terry and Chelsea Football Club today jointly announce our captain will leave the club at the end of the season https://t.co/zQZe6zPLGC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 17, 2017
The club praised his willingness to put his body on the line for his team again and again, adding: " He is, as the famous banner reads, our captain, leader, legend, and we wish John the very best of luck in the next chapter of his magnificent career."
In the statement, Terry wrote: "After 22 years there is so much to say and so many people to thank at this great football club. From coaches, team-mates 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.
Can't help but think John Terry would naturally take to a coaching role with Chelsea. Always working closely with the younger squad members pic.twitter.com/3zqr40xj7v— Cobham Blues (@cobhamblues) April 7, 2017
"I will decide on my future in due course, but for now I am committed to helping the team achieve success this season. 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.
John Terry to leave Chelsea at the end of the season pic.twitter.com/KGqKupahYi— 90min (@90min_Football) April 17, 2017
"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.
"Finally, words cannot describe the love I have for our football club and our amazing Chelsea fans. I would like to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart for the unbelievable support you've shown me over the years. You mean the world to me and every trophy we've won during my time at the club we've won together. I will never forget the incredible journey we've been on. Thank you so much for everything."
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