Frank Lampard scored the most painful goal of his career on Sunday as he found the net for Manchester City to deny Chelsea an away victory. But, says Jose Mourinho, the midfielder’s Stamford Bridge ‘love story’ was over as soon as he decided to move to the Etihad Stadium.
A resilient Chelsea had taken the lead courtesy of Andre Schurrle but were pegged back with only five minutes remaining after Lampard, on as a second-half substitute, ghosted into the box in trademark fashion to score his maiden City goal.
Lampard appeared very much a reluctant scorer and, as expected, did not celebrate his goal, but there were clearly no hard feelings after the final whistle as he was serenaded by the travelling Chelsea support.
Mourinho, though, would appear to not quite harbour the same emotional attachment to Lampard as that held by the Chelsea fans, despite having enjoyed a close relationship with the 36-year-old during their time spent together.
"Frank Lampard is a Man City player," Mourinho told Sky Sports after the game.
"When he decided to go to a direct competitor then love stories are over."
This was just the eventuality Lampard had hoped to avoid upon his arrival in Manchester, and there were even suggestions when he initially signed that there had been a request not to be included for this specific encounter with Chelsea.
However, Manuel Pellegrini confirmed on Friday that Lampard would be afforded no such privilege and would play some part against Chelsea - but the former England international and all connected with the west London would have hoped his contribution would not be so decisive.
Lampard’s body language and reaction after the game all adds to the theory that he had little choice in this loan move to Manchester City, and that it was somewhat forced upon him after signing for New York City FC.
He would, of course, have appreciated this opportunity to continue plying his trade at the very top level, albeit temporarily, but his long and heartfelt association with Chelsea would have surely meant it was a somewhat reluctant move to a Premier League rival.
But, having signed for City, Lampard is more than prepared to give his all - as demonstrated when he slotted past Thibaut Courtois on Sunday. The two sides meet again on January 31 and this should be the last game for which Lampard is available. A win at Stamford Bridge would be some way to bow out.