Now that Frank Lampard has kicked his last soccer ball in anger, it’s time to give him his due.
The former Chelsea and England midfielder announced his retirement Thursday, ending his glittering career after 21 yeas at age 38. Lampard used Instagram to tell the world he’s moving on from playing professional soccer.
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.
Lampard honed his talent at West Ham but spent the bulk of his career with Chelsea, where he played 649 games for between 2001 and 2014, won 11 major trophies and scored a club-record 211 goals. He’s the No. 4 goal scorer in Premier League history.
While these numbers confirm Lampard as one of the Premier League’s finest-ever players, he also was a key figure on England’s national team between his debut in 1999 and international retirement following the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
After leaving Chelsea in 2014, Lampard had short spells with Manchester City and in Major League Soccer with New York City FC.
Lampard launched his career amid accusations of nepotism — his father Frank Sr. was an assistant coach at West Ham while his uncle Harry Redknapp was the club’s manager at the time — and forged his reputation through talent, determination and dedication. He’s widely hailed as one of the model professionals of the modern game.
That’s probably why he’s basking in congratulations following a remarkable career.
Lampard, Didier Drogba, Petr Cech and John Terry formed part of Chelsea’s “Old Guard,” a core group of players who helped the Blues win a host of trophies.
@franklampard has today announced his retirement from football. The GREATEST player in the history of our great football club @chelseafc It was an absolute pleasure playing with you mate and seeing first hand the dedication and hard work you put in, on and off the pitch, the best trainer by a million miles every single day, inspiring me and everyone at the club. I miss you next to me in the dressing room and miss you grabbing a bag of balls after training when everyone went inside. You stayed out working on your finishing, 20 goals a year wasn't good enough for you, every year you wanted 25,30 goals I love that about you ⚽️👊🏻 I will miss you getting 4 cones and doing sprints after training 🏃🏻💨 setting the example for the kids in the academy. All the great memories together winning trophy after trophy year after year I will never forget 🏆 you have won everything and should be extremely proud. It's been my pleasure and honour to play and experience all those great moments with you. 648 appearances ( we nearly caught Peter Bonetti and Ron Harris 😜) 211 goals ⚽️ unbelievable achievement 👊🏻 A gentleman both on and off the pitch, leader in the dressing room and if I could choose one person next to me in the trenches it would be you. A great dad to your two beautiful girls and I'm proud to call you my mate Good Luck for the future, whatever you choose to do will be a huge success Love Ya Lampsy 💙 LEGEND HERO INSPIRATION + THE BEST EVER
Thumbnail photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images