John Terry will end his 21-year association with Chelsea at the end of the season after being told his contract will not be renewed.
The Chelsea captain revealed he was told he would not be offered a new deal before the recent Premier League meeting with Arsenal and will now look to continue his playing career away from the Premier League.
Terry, 35, made his debut for the club in October 1998, going on to win four Premier League titles, five FA Cups, three League Cups, the Champions League and the Europa League.
Now, with his Stamford Bridge career drawing to a close, the centre-back is hoping to add more silverware to that roll of honours after helping his side to a comfortable victory over MK Dons that set up a FA Cup fifth round meeting with Manchester City.
“I was in last week before the Arsenal game and it’s not going to be extended.
“It’s my last run in the FA Cup so I want to make it a good one.
“It’s a big season for me and I want to push on — not just in this competition but in the Premier League as well.
“I knew before the Arsenal game so mentally I’ve kind of accepted it.
“We just have to move on and climb the league.
“They said that when the new manager comes in, things might change. It’s a no at the minute.
“I needed to know now like I have done every January and sometimes it takes a couple of months to get done.
“Unfortunately it was a no. It’s not going to be a fairytale ending, I’m not going to retire at Chelsea.
“It’s going to be elsewhere which it took me a couple of days to get over.”
Terry, who is closing in on 700 appearances for the club, will look abroad to continue his career after insisting he will not play for another Premier League club.
“I didn’t feel as though I was playing great in the first four or five games of the season, like everyone in the team, and the performances showed that,” he said.
“But since then myself and everyone else has picked up back to where we are.
“All I can do is keep my head down and plug on.
“The club will move on. No player is ever bigger than the club.
“Ideally I would have loved to stay, but the club’s moving in a different direction.
“No doubt they’ll sign one or two great centre-backs.
“I couldn’t play for another Premier League club. It will be elsewhere for sure.
“I don’t know where and I leave that to the people in charge.
“It certainly won’t be in the Premier League.”
The chances of Terry going out on a high have improved considerably since Guus Hiddink took charge and this latest victory confirmed progress is being maintained.
A first half hat-trick from Oscar followed by Eden Hazard’s first goal of the season and a first Chelsea goal from Bertrand Traore illustrated the gulf between Hiddink’s side and their Championship opponents.
Hazard’s goal brought particular relief.
The Belgium international had gone 29 club games with a goal, a run stretching back to the final game of last season, his decline mirroring that of his team during Jose Mourinho’s final months at the club.
Handed the opportunity to break that drought — Terry and a number of his team-mates urged the winger to take the 55th minute after he had been tripped — Hazard completed the task and his celebrations in front of the visiting supporters summed up his relief.
“It was okay for him,” said Hiddink. “He has had a difficult time, with injuries.
“We have a hierarchy for penalties, with Oscar at the top, but they gave him this penalty.
“So it’s good for him to score.”
Chelsea were immediately in control of the game although the breakthrough came after a mistake by MK Dons defender Kyle McFadzean whose underhot back-pass allowed Diegp Costa to set up Oscar’s 15th minute opening goal.
A deflected shot from MK midfielder Darren Potter looped over Thibaut Courtois seven miniutes later to bring the home side back level but Oscar produced two more excellent finishes to complete his hat-trick before the interval.
The Championship side were overwhelmed and facing humiliation when Potter tripped Hazard in the 55th minute to allow the Belgian to score from the spot.
Then seven minutes later Traore completed the victory with a first time shot after being set up by Hazard.
MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin 8; Spence 6, McFadzean 4, Walsh 5, Lewington 6; Potter 6, Forster-Caskey 7; Hall 5, Carruthers 6 (Powell 82, 6), Murphy 7 (Williams 67,6); Bowditch 6 (Maynard 76, 6).
Subs not used:
Cropper, Hodson, Kay, Church.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Courtois 6; Ivanovic 6, Cahill 7, Terry 7, Rahman 6; Matic 7, Fabregas 6; Oscar 9 (Pedro 64,6), Loftus-Cheek 6, Hazard 7 (Willian 64, 6); Costa 7 (Traore 57, 7).
Subs not used: Begovic, Zouma, Mikel, Azpilicueta.
Referee: J Moss 7
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved