Former long-serving Chelsea captain John Terry signed a one-year contract on a free transfer for second tier side Aston Villa on Monday.

Terry, 36 and who left champions Chelsea after 22 trophy-laden years at the end of last season having lifted the Premier League title, is reported to have agreed a weekly salary of £60,000 (68,300 euros, $77,700) with the club that is owned by Chinese businessman Tony Xia.

Villa manager Steve Bruce — a former central defender of renown himself having captained Manchester United — made no bones about the significance of persuading Terry to join.

“It has to be the biggest signing of my career,” said Bruce.

“It’s not often you get a player of John’s calibre to play for you.

“A lot of the younger players will look up to him and it can only be a good thing for the dressing room.”

Bruce, though, had one minor quibble.

“We would love to have signed him when he was 26 not 36 but physically he is incredibly fit for his age…,” he said.

Terry, whose final appearance for Chelsea was mired in controversy with several fans winning money on betting on him being substituted in the 26th minute the same number as his shirt, said he preferred to drop down a league than have to face Chelsea.

“It was that mental side of playing against Chelsea that would be too much to get over,” said Terry, who had offers from Premier League sides West Brom and Swansea.

“I had 22 unbelievable years at the football club. This is a new chapter. I wish Chelsea well but my thoughts are 100 percent here and the ambition to get back in the Premier League.”

Terry joins the side against whom he made his senior debut 19 years ago in a League Cup third round tie.

“Life has come full circle,” he said.

Chelsea also tweeted their best wishes.

“Wishing John Terry the very best of luck at Aston Villa! (with a thumbs-up icon),” the champions tweeted.

Terry is expected to fly out to Portugal to join his team-mates at the club’s pre-season training, before the new season which begins at home to Hull City, Bruce’s former club, on August 5th.

The signing is a bit of a coup for Villa — who endured a torrid time last season never threatening to return immediately to the Premier League finally finishing 13th — as they faced competition from not only Premier League clubs but also Turkish giants Galatasaray.


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