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Captain, Leader, Legend...ary: John Terry retires

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JT announces his retirement not long after rumors of joining Aston Villa as assistant manager emerge

Chelsea v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

John Terry, one of the greatest players in Premier League history, one of the greatest center backs in modern football, and one of the biggest legends to ever grace the Chelsea shirt has officially retired on Sunday.

JT, now 37, announced his decision on social media, sending a heartfelt message to his family and fans, and the three clubs he played for during his professional career (Chelsea plus Aston Villa for a season and Nottingham Forest for a half season on loan at the very beginning).

He wrote in Instagram:

"After 23 incredible years as a footballer, I have decided now is the right time to retire from playing. 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, 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. I look forward to the next chapter in my life and the challenges ahead.”

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THANK YOU ⚽️

A post shared by John Terry (@johnterry.26) on

The announcement comes not long after rumors emerged of Terry joining potential new Villa head coach Thierry Henry as assistant manager. Terry had been exploring the possiblity of continuing his career, but Villa declined to extend his contract and he turned down a lucrative move to Russian football with Spartak Moscow.

Best of luck, JT with whatever may come next, and until the inevitable Chelsea coaching return, thank you for everything.