Frank Lampard's up-and-down tenure with New York City FC is over.
Lampard confirmed Monday that he will not be returning to the club upon the expiration of his contract, which is up at the end of the year. Lampard, who rose to prominence at Chelsea, famously signed with the club only to go to parent franchise Manchester City and remain there midway into what was supposed to be his first full MLS season. Injuries prevented him from being a full-time contributor, and Lampard played in just 10 games in 2015, scoring three goals and adding an assist. The perceived lack of commitment combined with his hefty $6 million annual salary made Lampard one of the more scrutinized players in league history.
He emerged as a key cog for Patrick Vieira's squad in 2016, earning back some good will with 12 goals and three assists in 19 games and helping the club reach the playoffs for the first time. NYCFC was bounced by Toronto FC in the Eastern Conference semifinals on an overwhelming 7-0 aggregate.
“As my time at NYCFC comes to an end, I would like to thank so many people for the kindness and support that they have shown me over the last two years," Lampard told the club's official website. “My teammates have been a pleasure to play alongside. The amazing fans have given me incredible support and backing. I have very much enjoyed my time, and I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to play for such a great club and in such an incredible city.”
It's unclear what the 38-year-old Lampard will do next, as he has not stated that his playing career is over with this move.
“What Frank has brought to the locker room is something just as important–his experience, his elite mentality and his mentorship for the younger members of our squad have helped us greatly this year," Vieira said. “It is clear that Frank has embraced playing in this league and for this club. I am grateful for his service in my first year here and I wish him the very best in whatever he chooses to do next.”