Chelsea players, including outgoing club legend John Terry, celebrate on the Stamford Bridge pitch after beating Sunderland 5-1 and lifting the Premier League trophy.
MATCH REPORT: Chelsea 5-1 Sunderland
Chelsea captain John Terry says he will wait a few weeks before deciding where his future lies after bringing down the curtain on his Stamford Bridge career.
Terry’s 22-year association with Chelsea will end after the FA Cup final next weekend, and he received an early send-off in the Premier League champions’ 5-1 win over Sunderland on Sunday, leaving the pitch in the 26th minute — the number he wears on his shirt — to a standing ovation and a guard of honour.
The 36-year-old was visibly emotional when he came off and when he addressed the fans after Chelsea were presented with the Premier League trophy at the end of a season in which he has made just nine Premier League appearances.
Asked by Sky Sports if the idea for him to come off in the 26th minute was planned, Terry replied: “I did discuss it with the manager.
“I kind of negotiated with him to play 26 minutes and come off, it was more important for the players that are probably going to play the cup final that they get their legs sharpened up again before that game. It was a compromise between the two of us, it’s been brilliant for me.”
On his future, Terry added: “I’m going to have a few weeks, I’m going to get away and relax before deciding anything. Every ex-player I speak to says the same thing, play as long as you can, enjoy every minute.
“I want to play, that’s the whole reason why I’ve decided to call it a day at Chelsea because I want to play, whether that be for one or two more years.
“I didn’t want to be that player standing in the way of the likes of Nathan Ake, them boys, it’s their time to shine and hopefully they can go on to a lot of success like we’ve had here.”
Chelsea boss Conte says Terry was honoured in the right way, despite widespread bemusement at the way he was taken off.
The Italian said: “It was very important to find the right solution to celebrate a great champion and a great legend for this club.
“He wrote Chelsea’s history. I wish, for him and for his family, the best in the future. For me, for the club, it would be a great loss next season without him. He helped me a lot this season, on and off the pitch. And now we must respect his decision.”