Blues pay tribute to Lampard
Published 03/06/2014 | 07:57
Frank Lampard will leave Chelsea with plaudits from the club he served with such aplomb for 13 years ringing in his ears.
The 35-year-old confirmed in a statement on Monday evening that he had played his last game for the Blues and will seek a new challenge after the World Cup.
Chelsea responded by issuing a lengthy tribute on the club's official website which finished by hailing the midfielder as one of their finest players of all time.
It concluded: "That Lampard has won more international caps while playing for Chelsea than anyone else in our history only strengthens the argument that he is one of the very greatest players to have represented the club.
"Any Chelsea supporter who has had the good fortune to watch Super Frank Lampard in full flow will know we have never seen his like in our midfield before, and we will be very blessed to again see his equal."
Lampard is currently with the England squad at their pre-World Cup camp in Miami and could face the media ahead of England's Wednesday friendly against Ecuador.
While a move away from the top-level European game has been mooted - with New York City FC said to be leading the race for his signature - his international team-mates are convinced he still has much to give.
Fellow England midfielder James Milner said: "He's not finished yet. He's still got that quality and still has the goals, so I am sure he'll have plenty of offers and he will choose what is right.
"Players have ups and downs in their career, but every season he delivers and the example is set for the younger players coming in.
"Since I've been in the England squad he's been a top player, a top pro and that's exactly what we need going into a major tournament."
Goalkeeper Petr Cech was the first of Lampard's Chelsea team-mates to pay tribute, posting a picture of the two of them on Twitter with the message: "It has been a privilege to have played with a true cfc legend and one of the most influential PL players ever".
Lampard gave no immediate indication as to what the future might hold, instead choosing to thank those who helped him make such a success of his Stamford Bridge career.
Lampard said: "When I arrived at this fantastic club 13 years ago I would never have believed that I would be fortunate enough to play so many games and enjoy sharing in so much success.
"This club has become part of my life and I have so many people to thank for the opportunity. Firstly, Ken Bates, who put his neck on the line to sign me as a young player and without him I would not have even begun this experience.
"Roman Abramovich, the man who saved our club and took us all to new levels. His desire to push the club to the top of the football world has rubbed off on everyone.
"All the managers and coaches who have helped me develop my game during the time I have been here. I have learnt from every one of them.
"All the brilliant team-mates who I have been lucky enough to train and play alongside for so long. Not just their football qualities but also the friendships I have gained along the way.
"I'd also like to give a special mention to all the staff and people behind the scenes at the club who do not receive the glory but without them the club would simply not function.
"The club will move forward, and as a Chelsea man I have no doubt that with the quality of the players that are there, they will continue with the success that we have all enjoyed over the past seasons."
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