Former Chelsea and England legend Frank Lampard has retired from professional football.
While not exactly surprising news, the 38-year-old midfielder’s announcement earlier today brings one of the most debated and celebrated footballing careers of the past two decades to a close.
Lampard, who most recently played for New York City FC until last November, posted a statement on his Facebook page noting that he had reached the end of the line.
”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.”
Lampard grew out of West Ham’s academy system and made his senior team debut in 1996 at the age of 17. The Hammers sold him to Chelsea in 2001 for £11 million, where he would spend the next 13 years and make 429 appearances. It was at Stamford Bridge where Lampard earned silverware and accolades that most footballers could only dream of— three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, and winners medals for both the Champions League and the Europa League.
It was Chelsea, naturally, that Lampard reserved some special words of thanks in his statement.
”Of course, the largest part of my heart belongs to Chelsea Football Club, 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.”
After his release at the end of the 2013-14 season, Lampard signed with New York City FC for their inaugural MLS season. Soon after signing, Lampard was loaned to “parent club” Manchester City for what was supposed to be a few months until NYCFC preseason began. But Manchester City held on to Lampard for the entire season, angering Chelsea fans and NYCFC fans and making everyone involved with the decision look bad. Lampard ultimately moved to New York in the summer of 2015, going on to make 29 appearances and score 15 goals.
Lampard was part of England’s so-called “golden generation” in the 2000s. He was an integral part of the Three Lions squads that were sent to three World Cups and two European Championships. England failed to capitalize on their seeming wealth of talent and win silverware, a disappointment that has often been (unfairly) blamed on him and his central midfield partner Steven Gerrard.
In his statement, Lampard noted that he’s currently working with the FA to obtain coaching qualifications and that he “look[s] forward to pursuing the off-field opportunities that this decision opens.”