Chelsea captain John Terry has called on his club to retire their No. 8 shirt when Frank Lampard's record-breaking Stamford Bridge career comes to an end.
While Lampard's agent, Steve Kutner, has denied giving an interview to the Italian media claiming his client would leave Chelsea next summer, the signals coming from all parties suggest the 34-year-old midfielder, who has won ten major honours in his decade with the Blues, will make his exit at some point in 2013.
"Devastated is an understatement," Terry said in an Instagram post. "We should retire the number 8 shirt in honour of Lamps."
Terry, in a later posting, moved to insist that he did not have any inside information over his team-mate's future.
"I have seen franks agents quotes on sky yesterday," he said. "That's all I'm going on nothing more."
The gesture of retiring a shirt in honour of a celebrated player has rarely been bestowed in English football, yet it has long been used as a mark of respect at the end of celebrated careers in Italy.
AC Milan retired their No. 3 jersey when Paulo Maldini's remarkable career came to an end, following a tradition started when Franco Baresi's No. 6 shirt was mothballed following his two decades of service to the Rossoneri. Meanwhile, Napoli retired their No. 10 shirt in honour of club legend Diego Maradona.
The most notable practice of this custom in England was seen at West Ham, where the No. 6 shirt worn by the club's iconic 1966 World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore was banished to the heavens, with Manchester City opting not to use the No. 23 shirt following the tragic death of their former midfielder Marc-Vivien Foe in 2003.
While Chelsea have not officially retired any of their shirt numbers, it is interesting to note that the No. 25 made famous by Gianfranco Zola during his time at Stamford Bridge has not been reused since his departure from the club back in 2003.