John Terry to leave Chelsea at end of season

, 9:26 AM IST
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London [United Kingdom]: John Terry is set to leave Chelsea at the end of the season, the club announced.

“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,” said Terry in a statement, however, making it clear that he will not retire.

“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,” he added.

Terry, who has made 713 appearances since his debut in 1998, ranking him third in the all-time list, has also captained Chelsea a record 578 times and scored 40 Premier League goals, which is more than any other defender, reports the Guardian.

“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,” he added.

“I feel I still have plenty to offer on the pitch but understand that opportunities here at Chelsea will be limited for me. 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,” Terry said.

Meanwhile, tributes poured in on the social media from fans and sporting personalities alike, lauding and hailing Terry for his contributions to Chelsea. (ANI)