John Terry has said his Chelsea farewells but vowed to be back at Wembley one day as a manager.
Saturday’s final was one of the defender’s final acts for the club, ahead of their Player of the Year dinner the following evening.
And Terry was bracing himself for another emotional occasion after he finished clearing out his locker at the club’s Cobham training ground last week.
He said: “I would have thought the dinner will be emotional, yeah.
“I’ve got a few bits to say to the players. It’s going to be sad times.
“It is such a long time I’ve been here and I have so many friends, the kind of people inside you guys don’t get to see that you have relationships with day in, day out. It is emotional times for myself and coach Steve Holland who is leaving as well.
“I did that, taking my stuff from the training ground. That was emotional. Thursday was my last day clearing out the locker. It kind of makes you feel empty a little bit.
“Just when you’ve been there, you’re used to Frank Lampard next door, then Gary Cahill comes and sits next to you and stuff.
“It’s kind of the final straw, isn’t it? When you’re putting everything, your possessions over the year, pictures of your kids…”
Terry laughed when asked if he had taken anything from the training ground as souvenirs and said: “No. Listen, I’ve got memories that will never go away. That sounds a little bit soppy but that’s me: I’m Chelsea through and through, and I’ve got unbelievable memories. Chelsea’s my club, I love it.”
Terry is weighing up his next move.
Eventually he wants to move into management and plans to keep working towards his coaching badges even if he extends his playing career.
He added: “I do want to be a manager. I think I’ve got too much to give and I’ve learned too much not to pass that on, whether that’s initially to a younger generation or eventually at this level.
“It’s the last time probably at Wembley for me as a player. Hopefully one day I’ll be back here as a manager. That’s kind of the ambition — being here, managing a top side.”
As for champions Chelsea’s future without him, Terry said: “We can push on.
“Clearly we have to keep improving year after year. You can’t stand still in the transfer market.
“Man City have already made one big signing in Bernardo Silva. We need to act fast, and I am sure the club will. Everyone needs to keep raising the bar. The manager stressed that himself.
“But this team is a great group.
“Seeing it from a different perspective, from my point of view this year, seeing people step up to the plate like at half-time and in other big games when we’ve been losing, stepping into the shoes that me, Lamps, Didier Drogba, Ashley Cole, and Petr Cech have left…
“This current squad is good enough to compete in all competitions at every level next year. We’ve shown that this year.
“Naturally there is going to be more games, so the squad needs improving and to have a bit more strength in depth.”