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John Terry to leave Chelsea after refusal of further one-year contract

John Terry has confirmed he is to leave Chelsea at the end of the season when his latest one-year contract expires at Stamford Bridge, drawing a line under a trophy-laden 18-year professional career at the Premier League champions.

The former England captain was informed the club would not be offering him a third 12-month extension at a meeting before last weekend’s win at Arsenal. The 35-year-old, capped 78 times, has claimed four Premier League titles, five FA Cups and three League Cups with the club and has also won the Europa League, though he missed Chelsea’s Champions League triumph through suspension, having been sent off in the semi-final. While he intends to prolong his playing career beyond this campaign he will do so outside the Premier League. Lucrative offers for his services are likely to come from China, the Gulf or the United States.

The one small caveat offered to Terry was the vague possibility the situation might change when a permanent successor is appointed to José Mourinho in the summer. The club later suggested they will seek to maintain a dialogue with the player, though the centre-half himself already appears resigned to this being the end of an era. “It’s not going to be a fairytale ending, I’m not going to retire at Chelsea,” he said after leading his team to a 5-1 FA Cup fourth-round win at MK Dons on Sunday. “I was in last week before the Arsenal game and it’s not going to be extended.

“They said that, when the new manager comes in, things might change but it’s a ‘no’ at the minute. I needed to know now, like I have done every January and sometimes it takes a couple of months to get done. Unfortunately it was a ‘no’. I’m going to be playing out my career elsewhere, which it took me a couple of days to get over. But, like I say, I knew before the Arsenal game and my performance isn’t going to change: the way I train, what I give for the club. I want to give everything and finish on a high, on 100% good terms with the club.”

Chelsea reacted late on Sunday evening with their own statement. “John requested a meeting with the club the week before last and, in that meeting, he asked about the possibility of an extension to his existing contract,” said a spokesman. “John was advised that, while no new deal was currently on the table, that situation could change in the coming months.


“The club has the utmost respect for John and everything he has helped us achieve to date. He is a fantastic servant to Chelsea and a superb captain. As such, the club will keep the channels of dialogue open.”

Regardless, the likelihood remains Terry will follow Petr Cech, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba in leaving the club over recent years, together with Mourinho who was sacked for a second time in December, to signal that Chelsea are now clearly moving away from the most successful team in their history. The youth-team product, who moved to the club at 14 and made his debut in October 1998, has held initial talks over a potential future role back at Stamford Bridge, though that would be considered only once his playing career is over.

“We spoke about my legacy and coming back to the club when I finish but the most important thing now is to get us up the league,” he said. “It’s my last run in the FA Cup so I want to make it a good one. It’s a big season for me and I want to push on – not just in this competition but in the Premier League as well. I knew before the Arsenal game so mentally I’ve kind of accepted it. We just have to move on and climb the table.”

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The player sought to announce his departure post-match at Stadium MK with neither Guus Hiddink nor the club hierarchy having offered any comment in their media conference. He was apparently not offered any specific reasons behind the club’s decision. “No, we didn’t get into it,” he said. “I didn’t feel as though I was playing great in the first four or five games of the season, like everyone in the team, and the performances showed that. But since then myself and everyone else has picked up back to where we are. All I can do is keep my head down and plug on because it’ll be my last year at the club.

“The club will move on. No player is ever bigger than the club. Ideally I would have loved to stay but the club’s moving in a different direction. No doubt they’ll sign one or two great centre-backs. I want to come back as a Chelsea supporter in years to come with my kids and see the team doing really well. Unfortunately that’s not going to be with me but I want to see the team do well. It’s going to be my last year and I want to go out at the top.” Asked about the prospect of moving to another English club, Terry said: “No. I couldn’t do that to the Chelsea fans.

“My agent made the call like we do very January. He got told over the phone so I called to set up a meeting the following day. The club immediately set that up, which was great of them to do that. I wanted to hear it face to face. They told me. Unfortunately it’s not going to be. I feel as though I’m in great nick, I’m playing well and I’ve got a couple of years to go. It’ll just have to be elsewhere.”


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