Both Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard will depart the Premier League at the end of this current season to further their careers in the MLS. They will leave English football having become two of the very best footballers to grace the Premier league during its rich history but who will ultimately be regarded as the best?
There can be no doubt that both midfielders have given their all for their respective clubs and served with distinction throughout their careers. They have both excelled and become figureheads and leaders for their sides over a number of years. They are both true professionals.
Each has also had fantastic club careers in terms of honours won. Lampard has won all that the game has to offer at club level with Chelsea and Gerrard also has a huge haul of trophies to his name during his stay at Anfield.
However, Gerrard has found the Premier League title out of his reach during his career unlike Frank Lampard who has won the trophy with Chelsea on three occasions and looks set to challenge once again this season with Manchester City.
Gerrard came closest to winning the Premier League last season when Liverpool were pipped to the title when in pole position going into the final games. His side are well off the pace this season so the Liverpool legend looks set to end his career without the elusive trophy to his name. It will be a shame for a player who has served with so much distinction and loyalty but it is no reflection on the player himself.
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He could have easily moved to a club where he could have won the title on numerous occasions but decided to remain loyal to the club he loves. He deserves praise for this act alone. Loyalty and football are not necessarily words that go hand in hand these days.
In all Lampard has won 13 major club trophies with Chelsea, including four FA Cups, the Champions League and Europa League, and Gerrard has won 10 trophies with Liverpool, which also includes the Champions League, UEFA Cup and two FA Cups.
Goalscoring midfielders in football are priceless and both have excelled in this area of the game throughout their careers, which is another reason why they are so highly regarded. Lampard has scored 258 career goals in over 860 games for his clubs whilst Gerrard has scored 180 career goals in nearly 700 games for Liverpool.
Steven Gerrard, though, it could be argued, has had the greatest influence on his club as he has carried a number of Liverpool sides, who have been mediocre at best, through his sheer commitment and drive. He has set the standard for his team-mates to live up to.
He has also scored a number of crucial goals when his side have needed him most. His FA Cup Final goal against West Ham, the last gasp Champions League goal against Olympiakos and his hugely important finish in the Champions League final against AC Milan stand out amongst the many he has scored. He often inspired his side to victory with the standards he set on the field.
Gerrard will definitely leave the biggest hole in his team when he departs. He is still now more than capable of carrying his side through games and his iconic status at Liverpool is up there with the best in the club's rich history. Liverpool manager Brendan Rogers has a huge hole to fill and I believe one which could prove impossible for him. Gerrard has that aura around him that is difficult to recreate.
Lampard has shown what a great player he is this season by adapting to life at Manchester City and proving that he is still a huge asset even with the big names that are already at the club. He has slotted into the side seamlessly which says a lot for the man himself.
It can be argued that both these players are the best two English midfielders to ever grace the Premier league. Only Paul Scholes could rival them in my opinion.
However, both may regret that they have failed to deliver on the World stage when playing for England. There has always been the debate that the two could not play in the same team as they are too alike, and this may have affected their performances when played out of position, but they have still served their country well, achieving over a hundred caps each, but without ultimately inspiring England to glory. However, this is probably more to do with our own high expectations as supporters rather than the players themselves.
For me both players are worthy of being called 'great' in terms of their club football. They have given their all to their respective clubs and have been true professionals in the game. They will be a huge loss to the Premier League but hopefully during the off-season in the MLS they will return to England and grace our football fields once again. I am sure they still have more to offer the game.
So the debate will now rage on as to who is regarded as the best player. So is it Gerrard, or is it Lampard? I will let you decide.
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