LONDON. – John Terry has announced his retirement from football after a 20-year playing career.
The Chelsea legend played for Aston Villa last season but did not sign for a club ahead of the new campaign.
He looked set to join Spartak Moscow but the move fell through, and he has now hung up his boots.
Terry continues to be linked with a switch back to Villa Park to assist Thierry Henry in a new management team following the dismissal of Steve Bruce.
The defender made 717 appearances for Chelsea, and six on loan for Nottingham Forest, before leaving Stamford Bridge for Villa in 2017.
He played 36 times for the Villans and helped them to the Championship playoff final where they were beaten by Fulham.
Terry also played 78 times for England.
In a lengthy Instagram post, he said: “I have many people to thank.
“My wife Toni and my two children, Georgie and Summer, for being my rocks throughout my career – I couldn’t have done it without you, I love you with all my heart.
“I thank my parents, Sue and Ted, for the sacrifices they made for me as a boy, giving me the best opportunity to fulfil my dream and become a professional footballer.
“My brother, Paul, for his help and advice throughout my career – and all my family and friends for their great support.
“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, particularly 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.
“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.
“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 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.
“I look forward to the next chapter in my life and the challenges ahead.”