LONDON • John Terry revealed on Sunday that he will leave Chelsea at the end of the season after the club refused to offer him a new contract.
The Blues captain said that he was desperate to stay but his agent was told last month that he would not be given an extension to his present deal, which runs out at the end of the season.
The 35-year-old former England captain, who was clearly hurt by the news, said the decision meant that there would be no "fairy tale" ending to his time at Chelsea and he intended to continue his playing career abroad.
Terry, who played the full 90 minutes of his side's 5-1 FA Cup fourth-round victory away to Milton Keynes Dons on Sunday, made the announcement less than an hour after the final whistle.
He said that he had known since before the Premier League game against Arsenal last weekend, which Chelsea won 1-0.
Terry, who made his first-team debut in 1998, is the most successful player to have graduated from the club's academy and established himself not only as a leader and captain, but as a club icon.
THE ONE AND ONLY
Terry is a huge personality at Chelsea... I don't know how John can be replaced.''
KURT ZOUMA, Chelsea defender, onJohn Terry not being offered a contract extension.
"They said that when the new manager comes in, things might change," said Terry, who signed a one-year contract extension last season. "It's a 'no' at the minute. I needed to know now like I have every January, and sometimes it takes a couple of months to get done.
"Unfortunately it was a 'no'. 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."
The news will no doubt be of interest to a number of clubs in Major League Soccer and in China, as well as turning the heat on his employers, who had eyed Everton's John Stones as a long-term replacement.
A Chelsea spokesman said late on Sunday that Terry may yet be offered a new deal.
"John requested a meeting with the club the week before last," said the spokesman. "John was advised that while no new deal was currently on the table, that situation could change in the coming months.
"He is a fantastic servant of Chelsea Football Club and a superb captain and, as such, the club will keep the channels of dialogue open."
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 Team of the Season after inspiring Chelsea to last season's league title. But his performances this season have not been to the same standard, mirroring the Blues' 13th-place standing.
The same though could be said about full-back Branislav Ivanovic, who endured a shambolic start to the season. Yet the Serb had been awarded a new one-year contract last month.
Terry's current central defensive partner Kurt Zouma was shocked by the news and suggested that it would be hasty to jettison him.
"I didn't know," the France international told the Evening Standard.
"Now we have to see what John wants to do because I think he can play for another one or two years.
"This feels like when we lost Didier (Drogba) last summer. Terry is a huge personality at Chelsea. When you lose these kind of players you have to replace them but I don't know how John can be replaced."
Indeed, in another period of flux for Chelsea, as they await a permanent appointment as manager, Terry offered constancy. He has played faithfully under 13 different Chelsea managers.
"Ideally I would have loved to stay but the club's moving in a different direction," Terry said. "No doubt they'll sign one or two great centre-backs."
THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE