Three years ago on this day, Chelsea announced that John Terry would be leaving Chelsea after a 23-year, trophy-laden career.
The Blues captain and club legend had been lined up for an exit a year earlier in 2016, but this time, it was official. Terry had become the club’s most successful captain in history. It was time for the Englishman to ride off into the sunset.
Among Terry’s accomplishments were lifting five Premier League titles, one Champions League trophy and registering over 700 appearances throughout all competitions with Chelsea alone. Terry, who started his Chelsea journey at the tender age of 14, was the epitome of a through-and-through Chelsea reference point.
Months following the announcement of the defender’s departure, Aston Villa presented a then-37-year-old Terry as their latest signing in front of media members. Camera flashes and shutter sounds echoed. Villa was suddenly at the heart of the reflectors, a clear indicator of Terry’s importance.
Ironically, in October 1998, during a League Cup tie against Aston Villa, Terry started what would eventually turn a famed career.
Assigned the captain role at 21 years of age, Terry quickly climbed the chart as the club’s main figure. The public’s ubiquitous sentiment was only fortified as the image of the No. 26 defender lifting the Premier League trophy became a common sight.
In proper legendary fashion, Terry wrapped his final campaign at Stamford Bridge lifting the league’s prime silverware, becoming the first player ever to captain a team to the Premier League title on five occasions.
On April 17, 2017, one of Chelsea’s most remarkable chapters turned its last page. And the entire Premier League woke up to the news that one of its most influential modern-day defenders was saying goodbye as a player. There may never be another John Terry.