Captain John Terry told Chelsea’s fans he wanted to stay at the club during an emotional address following their 1-1 draw with Premier League champions Leicester City on Sunday.
Terry, 35, announced in January that he would be leaving at the end of the season due to the club’s failure to offer him a new contract.
But Chelsea performed a U-turn this week by announcing that Terry has been offered a new one-year deal and while he stopped short of saying that he would accept it, he suggested that he saw his immediate future at Stamford Bridge.
“We all want the same thing,” Terry told fans during an on-pitch speech. “I’ve said that. I want to stay. The club knows that, the fans know that.”
Terry has made 703 appearances for Chelsea, putting him third in the club’s all-time list, and is their most successful captain, having won four league titles, five FA Cups, three League Cups, the Champions League and the Europa League during his 18 years in the first team.
The former England captain missed Chelsea’s last two games of the season through suspension, but he was present at Stamford Bridge on Sunday as fans chanted “John Terry, we want you to stay!” and held up signs showing “26”, his squad number.
In his speech, he paid tribute to Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri, his former boss at Chelsea, and Guus Hiddink, who has come to the end of his second stint as the London club’s interim manager.
“First and foremost I’d like to wish Claudio Ranieri and Leicester congratulations. I’m delighted that Leicester have won it and Tottenham haven’t,” Terry said, to roars from the home fans.
“This has been a difficult season and we are where we deserve to be in the league (10th). The fans have stuck with us. Thank you.
“I can assure you we’ll be back fighting for this title next year. On a personal note this has been tough for me, very emotional.”
He paused, apparently fighting back tears, before continuing: “Before I sign off I’d like to say thank you to Guus Hiddink. He is a great man.”