John Terry has announced his retirement from professional football after four months without a club, with the former Chelsea and England captain being strongly linked with a managerial role at Aston Villa.
In a short statement on his Instagram page, Terry said: "After 23 incredible years as a footballer, I have decided now is the right time to retire from playing."
The picture was accompanied by the caption: "THANK YOU."
Terry left Villa in the summer after they failed to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking, having lost the Championship Play-Off Final to Fulham. But following Steve Bruce's dismissal earlier this week in the wake of the 3-3 draw with Preston North End , Terry has been linked with a dramatic return to Villa Park alongside Thierry Henry, the current Belgium assistant manager, with Terry set to be the Frenchman's No 2 if speculation is to be believed.
The 37-year-old had been close to a move to Russian side Spartak Moscow last month after undergoing a medical, but decided to reject the offer after discussing the move with his family.
That triggered talk of retirement and a potential return to Chelsea, with Maurizio Sarri opening the door to the club great to join his coaching team, but he is yet to confirm his next move and reports on Sunday night claimed that the chance to work alongside Henry at Villa to earn his stripes away from the prying eyes in the Premier League is one that appeals to him.
He retires as one of England’s most successful club captains, having led Chelsea to five Premier League titles, five FA Cups, three League Cups, and both the Champions League and Europa League, while he won 78 England caps during a nine-year international career that ended in 2012, with 34 of those coming as captain.
Villa's 2-1 defeat against Millwall on Saturday leaves the club in 15th position, four points off the play-off places and 10 points behind leaders Sheffield United.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies