John Terry announces he will leave Chelsea at end of season
John Terry will leave Chelsea at the end of the season after the Premier League champions told him they would not be renewing his contract.
Speaking after the team's 5-1 FA Cup win at MK Dons on Sunday, the Chelsea captain told reporters that his 18-year association with the Blues would come to an end in the summer, though the club later in the day stressed a final decision regarding the 35-year-old's future had not been made.
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"I was in last week before the Arsenal game, and [my contract] is not going to be extended," Terry 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 [the situation] before the Arsenal game, so mentally I've kind of accepted it. We just have to move on and climb the league.
"My agent made the call, like we do every January. He got told over the phone, and I called to set up a meeting the following day. The club immediately set that up, which was great of them to do. I wanted to hear it face to face."
Terry said he felt he was "in great nick," adding: "I'm playing great and I've got a couple of years to go. It'll just be elsewhere. They said that when the new manager comes in, things might change. I needed to know now like I have done every January.
"It's not going to be a fairytale ending -- I'm not going to retire at Chelsea. It's going to be elsewhere, which it took me a couple of days to get over."
He stressed that his performance level "isn't going to change" and added: "I want to give everything and finish on a high, on 100 percent good terms with the club."
Asked whether Chelsea gave him a reason for their decision, Terry replied: "No, we didn't get into it. 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 great. Unfortunately, that's not going to be with me, but I want to see the team do well."
Terry said he would not join a rival Premier League club, adding: "I couldn't do that to the Chelsea fans. I couldn't play for another Premier League club. It will be elsewhere for sure. I don't know where, and I leave that to the people in charge of me."
A Chelsea spokesman later on Sunday told ESPN FC that, while they did not offer Terry a new contract during the defender's requested meeting, the club have not shut the door on having Terry back.
"John requested a meeting with the club the week before last," said the spokesman. "In that meeting he asked about the possibility of an extension to his existing contract.
"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 of Chelsea Football Club and a superb captain and, as such, the club will keep the channels of dialogue open."
Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.