LONDON (AFP) - Chelsea captain John Terry dropped a bombshell on Sunday (Jan 31) by announcing he will leave at the end of the season after the club decided not to renew his contract.
"I was in (for talks) last week before the Arsenal game and it is not going to be extended," Terry, 35, told reporters after his side's 5-1 win at second-tier Milton Keynes Dons in the FA Cup fourth round.
"It's not going to be a fairy-tale 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."
Terry has made 696 appearances for Chelsea and is the club's most successful captain, having won four Premier League titles, five FA Cups, three League Cups, the 2012 Champions League and the 2013 Europa League.
He was named in the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) Team of the Season after leading Chelsea to last season's league title, but his performances this campaign have not been to the same standard, mirroring the London club's slide down the league standings.
He could now follow former England teammates David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole by moving to the United States.
But the centre-back, who signed a one-year contract extension last season, wants to go out in style by lifting the FA Cup for a sixth time and helping Chelsea climb the league table from 14th place.
"It's my last run in the FA Cup, so I want to make it a good one," he said.
"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 before the Arsenal game (which Chelsea won 1-0), so mentally I've kind of accepted it. We just have to move on and climb the league.
"They said that when the new manager comes in, things might change. It's a no at the minute.
"I needed to know now like I have done every January and sometimes it takes a couple of months to get done. Unfortunately, it was a no."
Chelsea are currently in a state of flux, having appointed Guus Hiddink on an interim basis after Jose Mourinho was sacked as manager for the second time in December.
But while Mourinho's long-term successor will not be coaching Terry, the former England captain said that he would not join another Premier League club.
"The club will move on," he said. "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. It's going to be my last year and I want to go out at the top."
He added: "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. It certainly won't be in the Premier League."
Terry's impending departure means that Chelsea will lose the last remaining element from the team built by Mourinho that won back-to-back league titles in 2005 and 2006.
Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and Petr Cech have all since moved on, leaving Terry, who made his debut in October 1998, as the sole player branching the two generations.
A brave, no-nonsense centre-back in the finest English traditions, Terry is an iconic figure at Stamford Bridge, where a banner proclaims him: "CAPTAIN. LEADER. LEGEND."
But his 78-cap England career ended in September 2012 when he retired from international football after the Football Association charged him with racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand, brother of his England teammate Rio Ferdinand.