John Terry has brought the curtain down on an amazing playing career.
A Manchester United fan as a boy, Terry joined Chelsea at the age of 14 and went on to establish himself as a Blues legend.
The former England captain won five Premier League titles, five FA Cups and three League Cups during his time at Stamford Bridge.
He also picked up Champions League and Europa League winners’ medals but did not play in the finals.
He made 717 appearances for Chelsea, who paid tribute to their former skipper on Twitter, calling his “one of the finest careers of any Englishman in the history of the game.”
Announcing his retirement, Terry declared that his “heart will always belong to Chelsea” and thanked the club’s fans for their support.
“Right from the outset they have given me total support, on and off the pitch, and I have a tremendous bond with them,” he said.
“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.”
But Terry’s career could have taken a very different course had he not backed out of a proposed move to Huddersfield Town in 2000, when he was 19.
Terry was on loan at Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield were then managed by Steve Bruce, who signed him for Aston Villa 17 years later.
Twenty-two years as a Blue. Fifteen major trophies. One of the finest careers of any Englishman in the history of the game.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) October 7, 2018
Bruce was keen to snap up the young Terry and Chelsea were apparently willing to let him go.
Bruce told the Guardian in an interview eight years ago: “I bid £750,000 for him, it was a lot of money for me then, and Chelsea accepted it.
“But the boy didn’t want to leave Stamford Bridge at the time. I was close, but at the death he didn’t want to go.”
Terry the Terrier doesn’t have the same ring to it as Captain, leader, legend.
Only fellow legends Ron Harris and Peter Bonetti have made more appearances for Chelsea than Terry, whose 67 goals is a club record for a defender.