Legendary England, Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard retires
Frank Lampard retired from soccer on Thursday, ending a 21-year career in which he won every major honor at club level with Chelsea and established himself as the Premier League's highest-scoring midfielder.
Renowned for his professionalism, work rate and the timing of his runs into the penalty box, the 38-year-old Lampard will go down as one of the greats of the Premier League era.
In his time at Chelsea from 2001-14, he became the club's record scorer with 211 goals, made 649 appearances and was the heartbeat of teams that won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the Champions League in 2012. He started out at West Ham before finishing his career with short stints at Manchester City and then New York City FC in Major League Soccer.
Only strikers Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney and Andy Cole have scored more Premier League goals than Lampard's 177, a total that includes 10 or more goals in 10 straight seasons for Chelsea. And only Ryan Giggs and Gareth Barry have made more Premier League appearances than Lampard's 609.
Lampard also played 106 times for England.
After 21 incredible years, I have decided that now is the right time to finish my career as a professional footballer. Whilst I have received a number of exciting offers to continue playing at home and abroad, at 38 I feel now is the time to begin the next chapter in my life. I’m immensely proud of the trophies I’ve won, of representing my country over 100 times and of scoring more than 300 career goals. I have many people to thank. I thank my parents for instilling in me the values of hard work, dedication and professionalism, values which I have carried with me in everything that I do. I am forever grateful for the support of my family, my wife Christine and my two daughters Luna and Isla. What you have given me off the pitch has always been my strength on it. I love you all very much. Also, my friends and my own team that have always been there for me. I would like to thank the amazing team-mates, coaches, managers and backroom staff that I was privileged to work with. I’d also like to pay tribute to the clubs that I have represented. Firstly, West Ham United who gave me my debut in 1996. Thanks to the people there that believed in me at that young age. More recently Manchester City and NYCFC. I greatly enjoyed my last playing years at these two clubs and really appreciate the support I received from City Football Group and both clubs’ fans. Of course, the largest part of my heart belongs to Chelsea, a club which has given me so many great memories. I will never forget the opportunity they gave me and the success that we managed to achieve together. It is impossible to give thanks individually to all the people that helped and supported me in my 13 years playing there. All I can say is from the day I signed until now and going forward, I'm eternally grateful for everything and to everyone. Chelsea fans gave myself and my teammates such incredible support. Their passion and hunger drove me on personally to give my best year after year. I couldn't have done it without them. Looking forward, I'm grateful to the FA for the opportunity to study for my coaching qualifications and I look forward to pursuing the off-field opportunities that this decision opens.
"Whilst I have received a number of exciting offers to continue playing at home and abroad, at 38 I feel now is the time to begin the next chapter in my life," Lampard said in a statement on social media accounts.
Lampard will now study to become a coach, which would see him follow the path taken by his father, Frank Lampard Sr.
Such was his impact at Chelsea that in 2005, the year the London club won the Premier League title for the first time under Jose Mourinho, he finished runner-up behind Ronaldinho in the voting for FIFA's World Player of the Year award.
"Of course, the largest part of my heart belongs to Chelsea, a club which has given me so many great memories," Lampard said. "I will never forget the opportunity they gave me and the success that we managed to achieve together."
Although he scored 29 goals—including nine penalties—for England, he couldn't transfer his success at club level to the international stage. Successive coaches failed to find the right balance in the team's midfield as attack-minded players Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Paul Scholes fought for spots in central midfield.