Former England and Chelsea midfield star Frank Lampard said he was retiring today at the age of 38 after turning down “a number of exciting offers” in Britain and abroad.
“After 21 incredible years I have decided that now is the right time to finish my career as a professional footballer,” Lampard, Chelsea’s record goalscorer, wrote on Facebook.
“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.”
Lampard did not say what he plans to do next, but said he was grateful to the Football Association for the opportunity to do his coaching badges, suggesting he may go into management.
Lampard left New York City FC in the autumn and also played for West Ham United and Manchester City in the Premier League.
But it was at Stamford Bridge where he really made his name as a prolific midfielder.
He scored 211 times for the Blues and won every major club honour, netting the goals which in 2005 secured the club’s first championship title in 50 years.
“Of course, the largest part of my heart belongs to Chelsea Football Club, a club which has given me so many great memories,” Lampard wrote.
“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.
Lampard’s former colleague and long-time Chelsea skipper, John Terry, paid a moving tribute, which will have many Chelsea fans in tears.
Terry wrote on his Facebook page, “Frank Lampard has today announced his retirement from football. The GREATEST player in the history of our great football club. 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 extra 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 gentlemen 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 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 (sic)”