John Terry is the most successful player in Chelsea’s history, the man who captained the Blues more than anyone else, and is inarguably one of the greatest defenders England has ever produced.
The extraordinary breadth of his career is exemplified by the fact he picked up his first winners’ medal as a Chelsea player in 2000, and his last in 2017. That final trophy was the fifth Premier League title of his career - and 15th major honour overall. He left the club he joined as a 14-year-old having made 717 appearances - a figure topped only by Ron Harris and Peter Bonetti – and scored 67 goals.
Terry made his debut in October 1998. By the first full season of the next century he had established himself in Claudio Ranieri’s side, despite the presence of international stars like Marcel Desailly and Frank Leboeuf. Even at that young age, his fierce dedication, tactical awareness and natural ability stood out, along with his mighty impressive leadership qualities. He captained Chelsea for the first time in December 2001, a couple of days before his 21st birthday. He would go on to skipper the side on more than 500 occasions, comfortably a Chelsea record.
In the summer of 2003, after Terry’s consistent form at the heart of the defence helped us secure Champions League football, he made his first senior England appearance. He would later captain the Three Lions and feature at two World Cups and two European Championships.
Arguably his finest individual season as a Blue was in 2004/05, his maiden as permanent captain. We conceded just 15 goals en route to our first league title in half a century, and at the campaign’s end JT was named the PFA Player of the Year, as well as being selected in the PFA and UEFA Teams of the Year.
After many near-misses, Terry got his hands on the Champions League trophy in 2012, and our Europa League triumph the following year meant he had the full set of winners’ medals. He won the FA Cup five times and the League Cup on three occasions.
By the end of his Chelsea career, he had scored more goals than any defender in the Premier League era, another reason why Blues fans valued their skipped so highly. His long-range passing with either foot, as well as his chest and head control, also stood out.
JT’s last appearance came on an emotional day at Stamford Bridge when he said farewell to supporters having lifted the Premier League trophy for that record fifth time. Captain, leader, legend – there was no more fitting way for him to bow out.