John Terry’s send-off during Chelsea’s final Premier League match of the season against Sunderland on Sunday afternoon has divided opinion.
While some believe it was a nice gesture for a genuine Premier League legend, others think the whole incident was, quite frankly, embarrassing.
For those who haven’t yet seen it - where have you been?! - Terry was substituted in the 26th minute (his shirt number, of course) of the match. He shook hands with all of his teammates, who then gave him a guard of honour as he walked off the pitch.
Finally, he handed over the captain’s armband to Gary Cahill after applauding all four corners of Stamford Bridge for their support over the past 19 years.
Eyebrows were raised after the match, however, when David Moyes admitted Sunderland had agreed to kick the ball out of play in the 26th minute so Terry could leave the pitch.
Such an admission has sparked debate over whether the incident should, in fact, be classed as spot-fixing.
Yes, it was essentially a meaningless game - Chelsea had been crowned champions and Sunderland were already relegated - but deliberately kicking the ball out of play so an opposition player can be substituted was always going to be controversial, regardless of the circumstances.
Alan Shearer summed it up perfectly on MOTD
The Match of the Day team discussed the incident on Sunday night and Alan Shearer explained why, in his opinion, Terry’s send-off could have been handled much better.
“First of all (Terry) has been an absolute giant of the Premier League, 717 appearances, 15 trophies, but I’m not sure about this,” the former Newcastle United striker commented.
“Sunderland agreeing to kick the ball out on 26 minutes, I don’t think anything should be done that could undermine the integrity of the game.
“I know it was done with good intentions and he deserves the guard of honour, but it should have been before or after the game or in the last minute.”
Ian Wright didn't quite agree
Ian Wright didn’t entirely agree with Shearer.
“I don’t know if I’d disagree but Sunderland are down, they’re champions - you know,” Wright added. “I just think… it’s nice.”
But Shearer wasn’t having it - and many football fans share his opinion.
Shearer also posted this on Twitter...
Terry came up with the idea
It was later revealed that Terry himself came up with the idea to be subbed off in the 26th minute.
"I kind of negotiated with the manager to play 26 minutes and come off," Terry told Sky Sports, per BBC Sport.
"I think he wanted to get the boys that didn't play on Monday night against Watford and give them a run-out. It was a compromise between the two of us."
Antonio Conte: 'It was a fantastic idea'
Antonio Conte, meanwhile, said: "I think that we had to find the best for him - to start the game and to be substituted in 26 minutes, his shirt number.
"To see our players prepare a guard of honour for him was great, a fantastic idea.
"He deserved this. He's a legend of this club, not just this club but one of the best defenders in the world."
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