The word ‘legend’ is thrown around an awful lot these days, but one player that is actually deserving of this title is Frank Lampard. Over the 13 years he spent as Chelsea player, Lampard became one of Chelsea’s all-time greatest players.
June 2001, Frank Lampard is a West Ham United player. With his uncle, Harry Redknapp, leaving the West Ham hot seat two months prior and the poor treatment of his father by West Ham supporters, the midfielder decided to find a new club.
London rivals Chelsea opened their cheque book to sign Frank Lampard for a fee of £11 million and the first few years of his Chelsea career were quite successful to say the least.
Lampard was named in the 2004 PFA Team of the Year and also finished runner-up to then-Arsenal striker Thierry Henry, for the 2004 FWA Footballer of the Year award.
It wasn’t until the 2004/05 season where Frank Lampard hit his true potential though. In June 2004 a young Portuguese manager called Jose Mourinho was appointed Blues boss and the following season showed how pivotal Lampard was to the Chelsea side.
The trophies star arriving at Stamford Bridge
Lampard played in all 38 Premier League games for the 3rd consecutive season that year, and it was his performances that led Chelsea to their first Premier League title in 50 years.
He finished the season with 13 league goals and scoring two of the most important in Chelsea’s history; scoring both in a 2-0 win over Bolton Wanderers which won the title for Chelsea.
Due to his outstanding performances he was named as Barclays Player of the Season for
2004/05 and the 2005 Footballer of the Year.
The next season saw Lampard getting recognised on the world stage; he was named as a runner-up to Barcelona’s Ronaldinho in both the Balon D’Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year for 2005.
Top standard maintained at the highest level
Yet again, under the guidance of Mourinho, Chelsea won the Premier League in consecutive years, with Lampard yet again at the forefront of the Chelsea team.
In the 2006/07 season, Lampard spent most of the campaign as captain, due to John Terry being side-lined because of injury.
After scoring a long range effort against Everton, Lampard became Chelsea’s all-time record scoring midfielder, over taking former Chelsea captain Dennis Wise. He assisted
Didier Drogba to score the winner in the FA Cup final in 2007.
The following season saw the majority of his season hampered because of an injury. In February 2008, Lampard became the 8th player to score 100 goals for Chelsea.
Despite an injury-plagued season, Lampard was named as UEFA Club Midfielder of the Year.
In August 2008, Lampard signed a 5-year deal worth over £39million, making him the most paid player in the Premier League at the time. He scored his 150th goal of his club career in October 2008.
He scored the winner in the 2009 FA Cup final against Everton, he repeated his father’s
corner flag celebration, after he scored in the FA Cup semi-final in 1980, also against Everton.
Ancelotti kept the good times rolling
With the arrival of new manager Carlo Ancelotti, Lampard and Chelsea won the double; winning the Premier League and the FA Cup in the same season, with the FA Cup being won in consecutive seasons.
In October 2009, Lampard moved up to 5th in Chelsea’s all-time record goal scorers. He was also nominated for FIFA World Player of the Year for the 6th consecutive season.
After scoring his 151st Chelsea goal, he overtook Chelsea legend Peter Osgood and went to 3rd in the Chelsea all-time record goal scorer list.
The following season was just another routine season for the Englishman; scoring across all competitions and helping Chelsea to a 2nd place finish, just pipped by Manchester United.
In a 7-0 thrashing of Ipswich Town, Lampard scored his 201st club career goal. Despite finishing 2nd that season Ancelotti was sacked and was replaced by former Chelsea scout Andre Villas-Boas.
Villas-Boas failed to hurt Lampard's status
The 2011/12 season was a hugely successful season for both Chelsea, and Lampard. Despite being confined to the bench for large parts of the season as new manager Villas-Boas introduced a new regime at Stamford Bridge.
But after the quick dismissal of Villas-Boas, Lampard became a spearhead of
the Chelsea attack which led them to all the fortunes they won at the season’s
Despite losing 3-1 in their first leg against Italian side Napoli, Chelsea overturned the deficit and went through due to a late Branislav Ivanovic winner. Lampard helped Chelsea to a comfortable win over two legs against Portuguese outfit Benfica.
Champions League success a crowning glory
Both legs of the semi-final against Spain’s Barcelona saw Lampard an instrumental figure that oversaw a huge upset at Chelsea won 3-2 on aggregate.
May 19th 2012; Champions League final. Bayern Munich vs Chelsea at Bayern’s home ground of the Allianz Arena. Many considered this match to be a routine win for the German side.
After Didier Drogba’s late equaliser, and Petr Cech’s extra-time penalty save, the match went to penalties; similarly to Moscow 2008 that saw Chelsea lose to Manchester United
Lampard went third and converted his penalty. After a nervy shoot-out, Didier Drogba dispatched the winning spot kick to give Chelsea their first ever Champions League title, with what would’ve been his last touch as a Chelsea player, until his return in 2014.
Record haul reached
The next season saw Lampard truly cement his place as a Chelsea legend. In a win over Stoke in January 2013, Lampard scored his 194th Chelsea goal; which moved him up to 2nd in the record goal scoring department.
Also, in a 4-0 win over Brentford, Lampard scored his 199th Chelsea goal, which also was his 26th FA Cup goal for Chelsea, meaning he became Chelsea’s all-time record goal scorer in the FA Cup.
May 11th 2013 saw Lampard score twice against Aston Villa. And these 2 goals saw Lampard overtake Bobby Tambling’s record of 202 goals and become Chelsea’s all-time
record goal scorer.
A few days later, Lampard captained Chelsea to another European trophy, this time winning the Europa League against Benfica.
Year extension a stay of execution
Despite questions over his Chelsea future, Lampard signed a contract extension at Chelsea. Afer the re-appointment of Jose Mourinho, Lampard said he wanted to end his career at the West London side.
However, this season would be his last in Chelsea colours as Chelsea decided not to renew his contract. The season saw Chelsea finish in 3rd place and reaching
the Champions League semi-finals. He ended his Chelsea career in June 2014;
leaving to sign for MLS side New York City FC. But he disappointed many Chelsea
fans after joining Manchester City on loan until January 2015.
Throughout the 13 years he spent at Stamford Bridge, Lampard became a Chelsea great. As a player, he appeared 624 times for Chelsea and
scored a club record of 211 goals.
Many have touted that Lampard will return to Chelsea in a non-playing role, and I’m sure all Chelsea fans will love to see that happen.
Despite his future endeavours, Lampard is and always be a Chelsea legend.