John Terry Substituted in 26th Minute
John Terry today made his 492nd and final Premier League appearance for Chelsea as he lifted the Premier League trophy one more time at Stamford Bridge.
The former-England and Chelsea captain has been with the club 22 years after signing as a 14-year-old before making his Premier League debut for the Blues on Boxing Day 1998. His contact expires next month and has all but confirmed he will be leaving the club this summer.
Terry established himself as a first-team regular for the Blues during the 2000-01 season, going on to score in 17 consecutive Premier League seasons, winning the title on five occasions, the FA Cup five times, the EFL Cup three times, the 2012 UEFA Champions League and 2013 Europa League.
The 36-year-old was temporarily dropped by José Mourinho last season as Chelsea struggled from the start under the Portuguese manager. Terry would later find himself a regular again during the second half of the season under Guus Hiddink.
However, his days at Chelsea appeared to be numbered following the arrival of Antonio Conte last summer and the Italian’s switch to a 3-4-3 formation early in the campaign. César Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Gary Cahill were constantly the first-choice defenders for Conte, with today being only Terry’s sixth Premier League start of the 2016-17 season and his ninth league appearance overall.
As a tribute to the club legend, John Terry was substituted in the 26th minute of today’s 5-1 win over Sunderland – he wears the number 26 shirt. He was given a guard of honour by his own teammates as he left the field to be replaced by Gary Cahill.
This is not the first time Chelsea have done such. On the final day of the 2014-15 season, also against Sunderland, and also the day they lifted the trophy, Didier Drogba was substituted after 30 minutes and carried off by his teammates.
Sunderland had taken an 3rd minute lead through Javier Manquillo before Willian equalised five minutes later for the hosts. The Blues then scored four goals in the final half hour to run out triumphant winners – Eden Hazard, Pedro and Michy Batshuayi (2) getting the goals.
Chelsea have the opportunity to do the double in Antonio Conte’s first season next Saturday when they face Arsenal in the FA Cup final.