New Aston Villa signing John Terry says he rejected offers from Premier League clubs because he could not face the prospect of playing against Chelsea.
The 36-year-old defender, whose contract at Stamford Bridge expired on 30 June, has signed a one-year deal with the Championship club.
The former England captain is determined to help Villa achieve promotion from the Championship in 2017-18.
“I won’t name names but I’m thankful for the interest in me,” he told a news conference.
“The mental side of playing against Chelsea was too much to get over for me. I was there for 22 years at the football club. I am very proud of that but this is a new chapter in my life and career.
“My thoughts are 100 per cent here and the ambition is to get us back to the Premier League. It’s a huge club. Villa Park is one of the finest stadiums in the country and there’s a good group of players here.
“I can’t wait to get started now and look to help the squad achieve something special this season. It’s a club that deserves to be in the Premier League and I still want to continue playing.
“I am hungry to still play with a team and manager that has the same ambition as me to get promoted.
“The ideal situation is to get into the Premier League, that’s why I’m here and I believe we have the squad of players to do so. If they’re back in the Premier League this time next year I’ve done my job, and we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”
He won 78 caps for England, played 717 games for the Blues and won his fifth Premier League title in May.