Frank Lampard has said his former Chelsea teammate John Terry is “the greatest defender in Premier League history.”
On Monday, Chelsea announced that captain Terry, 36, will leave Stamford Bridge after 22 years at the end of the season.
The central defender is out of contract in the summer and has signalled his desire to continue playing elsewhere, though sources have told ESPN FC that a move to the MLS is unlikely.
Regardless of his next move, Lampard — who won 11 major trophies in 13 years alongside Terry — said his legacy as the best defender of the Premier League era is beyond dispute.
“The last man standing of an incredible era for @chelseafc,” Lampard wrote in a post on his official Instagram page.
“What a pleasure to play with the greatest defender in the @premierleague history. In fact, I’d put him up with any defender in world football of any era.
“He led the club both on and off the pitch from the moment he made his debut. He set standards for everyone, whether it was demanding excellence in training, fighting for every win or respecting how fortunate we were to play for such a great club.
“He was, and is, a legend, not just for his talent but just as much for his desire to get the best out of himself and others around him. That’s what made him the most successful captain in the club’s history.”
Lampard described Terry as “a great friend” and said he would “deserve every accolade you get over the next weeks and beyond,” adding: “Absolute respect.”
Terry has made 713 appearances for Chelsea since his senior debut in October 1998, including a record 578 as captain.
He has so far won 14 major trophies during his time at Stamford Bridge, including four Premier League titles, five FA Cups and the 2012 Champions League.