John Terry has announced he will be leaving Chelsea this summer, saying: "It's not going to be a fairytale ending."
The 35-year-old will walk away from the club he joined at the age of 14 and for which he has made 696 appearances, scoring 66 goals.
He has won every major club honour with the Blues, including the Champions League in 2012, four Premier League titles, five FA Cups, three League Cups and the 2013 Europa League.
Terry had been hoping to secure a 12-month extension but was informed by the club of their decision prior to last week's win at Arsenal.
And the former England captain made Chelsea's decision public following a 5-1 FA Cup win at MK Dons on Sunday.
"It's not going to be a fairytale ending, I'm not going to retire at Chelsea," he said.
"My agent made the call like we do every January. He got told over the phone and I called to set up a meeting the following day.
"I wanted to hear it face to face. They told me. Unfortunately it's not going to be.
"I feel as though I'm in great nick, I'm playing great and I've got a couple of years to go. It'll just be elsewhere."
Chelsea have endured a season of struggle, with Jose Mourinho leaving for the second time in December, and now their talismanic skipper will be moving on.
He is yet to decide where, except outside of England, and big-money offers are likely to come in from Major League Soccer and the Chinese Super League.
There is one small glimmer of a playing future for Terry at Chelsea, if Mourinho's permanent successor deems his services are required.
Terry added: "Ideally I would have loved to stay, but the club's moving in a different direction.
"I needed to know now like I have done every January and sometimes it takes a couple of months to get done. Unfortunately, it was a no.
"They said that when the new manager comes in, things might change. It's a no at the minute. It took me a couple of days to get over."
Terry's star has waned at Chelsea since last season, when he was a pivotal figure in the Blues' first Premier League title in five years.
The defender played every minute of all 38 Premier League games.
But in the second Premier League game of this term, at Manchester City, Terry was substituted at half-time in a 3-0 loss.
Terry was not the automatic choice he had been in Jose Mourinho's first spell thereafter.
He came out in support of the Portuguese, denying speculation of a falling-out, before Mourinho was sacked in December.
Terry's season high-point so far was a controversial late goal against Everton two weeks ago.
He was offside when he scored eight minutes into stoppage time to earn a 3-3 draw.
Afterwards Terry spoke of his desire to stay on at Chelsea, while interim boss Guus Hiddink sang his praises.
Yet now it will be a long goodbye.
Terry added: "I couldn't play for another Premier League club. It will be elsewhere for sure.
"I don't know where and I leave that to the people in charge."
Terry's career has been punctuated by controversies and he is a divisive figure in the game, but not at Chelsea.
He added: "The club will move on. No player is ever bigger than the club. No doubt they'll sign one or two great centre-backs.
"I want to come back as a Chelsea supporter in years to come with my kids and see the team doing great.
"Unfortunately that's not going to be with me, but I want to see the team do well.
"It's going to be my last year and I want to go out at the top.
"We spoke about my legacy and coming back to the club when I finish. The most important thing now is to get us up the league.
"I want to give everything and finish on a high, on 100 per cent good terms with the club."
Chelsea later suggested Terry could yet be offered a new deal.
A club spokesman said: "John requested a meeting with the club the week before last.
"In that meeting he asked about the possibility of an extension to his existing contract.
"John was advised that while no new deal was currently on the table, that situation could change in the coming months.
"The club has the utmost respect for John and everything he has helped us achieve to date.
"He is a fantastic servant of Chelsea Football Club and a superb captain and, as such, the club will keep the channels of dialogue open."