John Terry walked off with tears in his eyes as the Chelsea captain was substituted in the 26th minute and given a guard of honour by his team-mates at Stamford Bridge.
Play was paused in the Premier League match against Sunderland on Sunday to allow Chelsea to give their 36-year-old skipper a send-off in the first half.
John Terry – Chelsea’s No 26 – was replaced by Gary Cahill, who was handed the captain’s armband.
As the teams were announced at Stamford Bridge, there was great sentimentality at the inclusion of a certain 30-odd-year-old central defender.
Yet once Sunderland’s supporters had gotten over the shock of Joleon Lescott’s first start this season, the attention turned to Terry.
This was Terry’s final farewell at the Bridge and likely to be his last appearance for Chelsea.
The veteran was in tears as he walked off, hugging his colleagues then Antonio Conte.
Chelsea have previous with this kind of fanfare, having carried Didier Drogba off in his final game with the club just 30 minutes into the match.
He was also made captain for his final match and gave an emotional salute to his supporters and Roman Abramovich.
Drogba’s pre-planned substitution appears to have sparked a trend at Stamford Bridge with Terry’s similar exit.
After 22 years of service, five league titles, five FA Cups and a Champions League, Terry also offered the fans a heartfelt goodbye en route to the ground before the game.
‘(Thank you) From the bottom of my heart for everything you have done for me over the years,’ he said in a video posted on the Chelsea magazine’s Twitter.
‘The support picked me up when I was down, the disappointments – it’s down to you that I’ve picked myself up and gone again on the football pitch.
‘Hearing you sing my name has made me feel like the best defender in the world at times. The players will all say without you guys the football club is nothing and I genuinely mean that.
‘When I signed here as a 14-year-old, I never dreamed of doing what I’ve done in the game.
‘To celebrate today will be said and really emotional for me and my family but thanks guys, I love you from the bottom of my heart and forever – I will always be a Blue.
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