Former Chelsea and England captain John Terry, 37, has decided to call time on his playing career after 23 years in the game. The centre-back has been without a club since leaving Engish second tier (Championship) side Aston Villa following their playoff defeat to Fulham at the Wembley Stadium last season. “After 23 incredible years as a footballer, I have decided now is the right time for me to retire from playing,” Terry wrote on his Instagram account on Sunday.
Terry was first made captain at Chelsea by Jose Mourinho in 2004. From then until his departure from the club in 2017, he won five Premier League titles, had five FA Cup triumphs and claimed the League Cup three times. He was captain in 2012 when Chelsea won the Champions League by beating Bayern Munich on penalties in the final. However, he didn’t play the match due to a suspension. Terry moved to Aston Villa after winning the 2016/17 Premier League title where he was immediately given the captain’s armband.
Twenty-two years as a Blue. Fifteen major trophies. One of the finest careers of any Englishman in the history of the game.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) 7 October 2018
After leaving Aston Villa, Terry announced during the 2018 summer transfer window that he had turned down a move to Russian club Spartak Moscow.
Terry made his England debut in June 2003 and played 78 times for his country. He succeeded David Beckham as captain following England’s quarter-final exit from the 2006 World Cup. He retired from international duty in 2012 amid allegations of him racially abusing Queens Park Rangers player Anton Ferdinand, whose brother Rio Ferdinand was Terry’s England team-mate and centre-back partner.
“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.
“Right from the outset they have given me total support, on and off the pitch, and I have a tremendous bond with them.
“We achieved so many great memories together and I couldn’t have succeeded without you. To me, you are the best fans in the world. I hope I have done you all proud wearing the shirt and the armband.
“My club career and heart will always belong to Chelsea, but I am grateful for my loan spell at Nottingham Forest in 1999, which was invaluable for my development as a young player.
“And I also want to say a huge thank you to Aston Villa for giving me the opportunity to play at such a big club and captain it throughout the 2017-18 season.
“It was a privilege to represent such a renowned football club with great fans.