Chelsea favourite John Terry has reaffirmed his desire to stay at Stamford Bridge for the remainder of his career, but stopped short of confirming whether or not he intends to sign a new one-year contract extension. The long-serving captain, who joined the club aged 14 and has since made over 700 appearances and won a plethora of major silverware including four Premier League titles, addressed supporters in an emotional speech after Guus Hiddink's side closed a difficult campaign in 10th place following a 1-1 draw against newly-crowned champions Leicester City.
"This season for us Chelsea fans, it has not been a good one," the 35-year-old, who was not eligible to face the Foxes as he served the second game of a two-match suspension, said. "We have not been at our best and we are where we deserve to be in the league. From the supporters point of view, you have stuck with us, through the thick and the thin. We have had some great times in recent years and thank you for the support. At times we accept we have not been good enough, but I can assure you we will be back next year and we will be fighting for this title.
"On a personal note, I would like to thank everyone as well because this season has been tough for me, very emotional. Chelsea is a big part of my life, like it is yours, and I have had the best moments of my life inside this stadium. From myself and the players, I'd like to say a big thank you.
"We all want the same thing. I want to be here. I've said for a very long time that I want to be here for the rest of my career, I want to finish my career here so we have a few days and we'll be speaking to the club and In want to stay, no doubt. The fans know that."
Terry's departure from Chelsea after 21 years looked all but certain back in January, when the former England skipper, who has always maintained that he could not represent another English club, revealed that he had been informed there was no new deal on the table. A potential move to the United States' Major League Soccer, where he could follow in the footsteps of former teammates Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole, was quickly mooted, although it has since been reported that there is very little interest from any MLS franchises in handing him a designated player contract.
The dominant centre-back has also been linked with a lucrative switch to the Chinese Super League, where millions were spent during the last transfer window in order to further enhance the division's reputation on a global scale and to entice the likes of Jackson Martinez, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Fredy Guarin, Gervinho and Alex Teixeira to East Asia as well as former Blues players in Ramires and Gael Kakuta.
However, after weeks of speculation guessing at the position of incoming manager Antonio Conte, an official club spokesman confirmed during Guus Hiddink's pre-Leicester press conference on Friday (13 May) that Terry had finally been offered fresh terms after meeting with director Marina Granovskaia and chairman Bruce Buck.
Chelsea won their fourth Premier League title at a canter last term before a rapid fall from grace that left them hovering just one point above the relegation zone when Jose Mourinho was dismissed for a second time in December 2015. They gave Leicester and former manager Claudio Ranieri a guard of honour prior to kick-off on Sunday (15 May) before taking the lead against the champions through a Cesc Fabregas penalty after Nemanja Matic was fouled by N'Golo Kante. The spoils were shared in the final match of Hiddink's second interim reign thanks to Danny Drinkwater's late strike from distance. Terry was subjected to a 26th-minute tribute from home supporters and was hoisted into the air by his fellow players after the full-time whistle.