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Chelsea pay tribute to Captain, Leader, Legend, set to leave after 22 years at the club

Yesterday’s announcement that John Terry will leave Chelsea Football Club at the end of the season to presumably continue his playing career elsewhere — not quite ready to hang them up just yet at age 36, just like fellow Chelsea legend Didier Drogba — was anything but unexpected. The timing was perhaps not ideal, with Chelsea trying to fully focus on winning the league and getting to the FA Cup final, but there’s probably no ideal time for such an announcement. This way at least we avoid undue speculation and any hint of last year’s awkward scenes.

Here’s Chelsea’s lovely goodbye video, just a small part of the outpouring of tributes and heartfelt messages (including of course from Frank Lampard) to the Chelsea captain.

The writing’s been on the wall for JT pretty much all season, making this somewhat of a long goodbye with him reduced to mostly playing cheerleader on the bench and in the dressing room once Conte ditched the standard back-four of the Second Mourinho Era (Azpilicueta, JT, Cahill, Ivanović) and started a new Premier League trend of three-men defences (Cahill, David Luiz, Azpilicueta). Terry’s made just 10 appearances all season, his lowest total since his first full season in 2000-01 when he made 26. His 713 appearances for the club rank third all time behind Chopper Harris and Peter Bonetti.

Depending on how the title run-in develops in these last six games of the season, we may or may not see John pull on the famous Blue shirt one last time, at least for fully kitted trophy lift if nothing else. Since testimonials seem to not be in vogue these days, hopefully we’ll wrap things up before the final day, which will see Chelsea take on Sunderland and Stamford Bridge. Terry will surely be back in the future in some capacity of course, probably as a coach.

The magnitude of this announcement has not yet fully hit, I suspect, but winning the title and potentially a double would be a perfect send-off for him, just as title-wins were perfect send-offs for Didier Drogba and Petr Čech. As if we needed any more incentive and motivation to finish strong.

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