Former England skipper John Terry has admitted that he opted to join Championship side Aston Villa rather than another Premier League club as he could not bear to face Chelsea, after his move to the Midlands was confirmed yesterday.
Terry's trophy-laden two decades with the Blues came to an end this summer after manager Antonio Conte decided against offering the 36-year-old a new deal with his top-flight champions.
Terry, who has signed a one-year deal at Villa Park, will now turn his attentions to helping manager Steve Bruce to guide the Villans back to the Premier League after they endured a fruitless campaign in the second tier last term.
"The mental side of playing against Chelsea was too much to kind of get over for me," said Terry.
"It was 22 years and I am very proud of that. I wish Chelsea well next season but now my thoughts are 100 per cent here. I am delighted to be here as a player.
"It is obviously a huge club. I had a few conversations with Steve over the summer and I am still very hungry to still play at the top with a club and manager who have the same ambition as me.
"The ambition for me to continue playing, some people will understand and some will not. I am in good physical condition. I am ready to play and give it everything this year. I am here and I am ready to fight for the Villa shirt and this football club."
Terry, who won five Premier League titles with Chelsea, is reportedly costing Villa £60,000 a week. He is also tipped to be installed as their skipper next term.
"He is worth every penny because we know what he brings," said Bruce.
"It is not often that you get a natural leader of men these days. I have watched him from afar for a long, long time and to get him here is a great coup for all of us."