Former England captain John Terry has announced his retirement from playing.
The long-serving Chelsea defender has hung up his boots at the age of 37 and is understood to be primed for a quick return to Aston Villa.
He is poised to become Thierry Henry’s assistant at the club he played for last season, with former Arsenal star Henry in pole position to be named as manager this week.
Terry wrote on 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.”
Terry turned down a move to Spartak Moscow last month, despite reportedly having a medical, saying it was not the right option for his family.
His last game as a professional was Villa’s 1-0 Championship play-off final defeat to Fulham in May.
Terry won 78 England caps, five Premier League titles with Chelsea, five FA Cups and three League Cups. He also picked up Champions League and Europa League winners’ medals but did not play in the finals.
He made 717 appearances for Chelsea, scoring 67 times, before joining Villa after leaving Stamford Bridge in 2017, playing 36 games for the club.