London (AFP) – Chelsea legend John Terry’s final appearance at Stamford Bridge ended with his team-mates forming a guard of honour as he exited in the 26th minute of the Premier League clash with Sunderland.
The 36-year-old — the time of his premature departure chiming with his shirt number — looked visibly moved when he was replaced by Gary Cahill, who has also stepped in and skippered the team on the pitch to the title this season.
Terry — who leaves Chelsea at the end of this season after 22 years with them — also exited to a standing ovation from the fans who despite some off the pitch scandals is revered by them.
Terry, though, will return to the pitch after the match to lift the Premier League trophy, the 15th piece of silverware he has lifted and may get to also raise the FA Cup if Chelsea beat Arsenal next Saturday.
Former Tottenham, Barcelona and England striker Gary Lineker was quick to take to twitter to pay tribute to the central defender.
“John Terry’s magnificent Chelsea career ends after 26 minutes of his final match. A great defender. A real leader. And a winner,” tweeted Lineker.