John George Terry broke down in tears as he expressed gratitude to Chelsea management, teammates, club owner Roman Abramovich and the club’s loyal fans who showed him love even through the bad times.
Terry, 37, had support from his family and coach but none of these people standing by his side could suppress the overwhelming emotions.
The captain’s farewell speech on Sunday 21 May, 2017, was comprehensive. Everyone knew he’d need more than just a few minutes to voice his joy and pain through the 20 years he spent at Stamford Bridge.
Terry’s career at Chelsea was filled with sweet memories than regrets, having broken records as a captain and defender, yet going further to set higher standards.
The club’s highest-scoring defender spoke to reporters right from the tunnel after saying goodbye to fans at the stadium.
In his words: “It was a very tough day for me, it’s an awful long time I have been at the football club and I am delighted to get the ovation and the send-off.”
“It was very, very emotional. It was an incredible send off from the players and the supporters. They have been my life and my family for 22 years and I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart. It is an incredible feeling to have stayed at this club so long.”
He continued: “The club means everything. As a 14-year-old I cleaned the stadium where the fans sit today, I have cleaned the seats, cleaned the toilets, the players’ boots, I have started right from the bottom and to work my way up I have had to work very hard and make some sacrifices along the way, and I think that is why I have such a great relationship with the fans because I am one of them.
“This was one of the best moments all day long. You look back at the first Premier League trophy in 2004/05 as a special moment but this is right up there with it.
“I have not done too much playing myself [this season] but the players have been excellent.
“The manager has come in with a new formation and a new system and they deserve a lot of credit for the way they have played. They had a target in this game, to break the record and win 30 games and they have done that, and now there is another big game next week.”
John Terry is known for his aggressive tackling, excellent positioning and great leadership qualities.
Apart from his ability to read games perfectly well, the captain will be remembered as the only English player to be included in FIFA’s All-Star squad for the 2016 World Cup.