Kirby to leave Chelsea

Fran Kirby has announced she will leave Chelsea Women at the end of the season after nine years at the club.

The 30-year-old forward will depart the club at the end of her contract as their all-time leading scorer having netted 115 goals in 205 appearances since her arrival from Reading in 2015.

Kirby has won a total of 14 trophies during here decorated spell in west London, including five Women’s Super League titles, four FA Cups and two League Cups.

She is also a two-time winner of the PFA Women’s Player of the Year and Football Writers’ Women’s awards and has won 70 caps for England, scoring 19 goals and helping them win the Euros in 2022.

Fran Kirby has been plagued by comments about body image throughout her career, despite being one of the most prolific scorers in the WSL
Kirby will be available as a free agent this summer

Her exit comes as Chelsea prepare to embark on a new chapter, with Sonia Bompastor set to replace the long-serving Emma Hayes as head coach at the end of the campaign.

“I always wanted to win growing up, so coming to a club that shared that ambition was something that I valued,” Kirby told the club’s official website. “That is one of the main reasons I joined the club. I believe the club could help me do that.

“To leave with the trophies that I have won, with the team-mates I’ve played with – some of the world’s best players – it has been one of the biggest privileges of my life.

“The support I’ve had has been unmatched. When I had my illness, my injuries, that’s when I’ve made some friends for life. I will never forget that no matter how bad I felt during those moments, I always felt loved and supported.

“For me, I was just a young girl who loved football. And it still is that now. I’m a bit older now, but still someone who just loves to play football.

“Part of my job is to play well, win trophies and football games. If I can do that and inspire young girls to be footballers or any form of athlete. That is enough for me.

“Growing up I never thought I could impact it so much. So I’m really proud I have been able to impact in a positive way and doing that for a club like Chelsea is something I’m really proud of.

“Hopefully, I leave the club in a better place than when I first came in. For me then, the job is done.

Fran Kirby scored for England on her first international start in over a year
Kirby has won 70 caps for England Women

“To have been there from the beginning at Staines, playing in front of an amazing crowd there and now to Stamford Bridge. We’re selling out the Bridge. It’s been an incredible journey with all of you.

“Thank you for embracing me from day one. Helping me overcome some really difficult times and also sharing some amazing times with me. I will never forget how it felt to play in front of all of you.

“I hope I have left the club and the shirt in a place where you all can be proud of me.”

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