Legend. That is what Frank Lampard is, yet Chelsea still seem insistent on foolishly letting the veteran midfielder leave for free at the end of the season.
Over the years, Lampard has been one of the only players to consistently produce performance after performance. After a staggering 649 matches for club and country, the midfielder's tank is still running effectively.
Lampard has enjoyed a spectacular career so far, scoring 198 goals in total for Chelsea, where he is their second highest all-time goalscorer behind Bobby Tambling with 202.
There is no doubting that Lampard has a massive influence on football matches. On so many occasions he has scored goals which are crucial, brilliant and unexpected. Take the match against Brazil on Tuesday night, for example, where the Samba Boys were on top after substitute striker Fred equalised for the visitors.
Lampard was brought on as a substitute and came out of nowhere to rifle a screamer of a shot into the back of the Brazilian net to give England a morale-boosting win. There have been so many different occasions where he has demonstrated his class, but one that stands out to me is October 2011, where he single-handedly destroyed Bolton.
It was during the reign of Andre Villas-Boas, a period where Lampard's career was surrounded with doubt. He was constantly on the bench for that part of the season and was heavily criticised by the media, who constantly pecked away at him prior to the game saying he was past his best. Lampard responded to the critics with a storming hat-trick that left Chelsea fans with a beaming smile on their face. This shows the unbelievable commitment of the player. Even though he was poorly treated by Villas Boas, he still stepped up and performed when he was needed most.
Lampard has many important qualities that make him stand out from others. In particular, his natural leadership skills. He is not only influential on the pitch, but is also immensely influential in the dressing room. As a born leader, he can provide motivation to the team and can give confidence to the younger players who are daunted by the challenge of playing for such a demanding club.
Not only is his leadership important, but his ability to convert penalty after penalty is simply spectacular. He has to be the most consistent penalty taker in Europe at the moment. He has scored 47 penalties for Chelsea, only missing a couple over his career, most notably for England.
In Chelsea's winning Champions League campaign he scored two vital penalties, the most important coming in the second leg against Napoli, where Lampard's thumping penalty levelled the aggregate score at 4-4, allowing Chelsea to go into extra time and snatch the win.
Chelsea's decision to let Lampard go is a mystery that not even Sherlock Holmes can solve, because such an influential player should be held on to at all costs. His performances of late are making a mockery of Chelsea's decision to let him go, and there will no doubt be a long list of potential suitors queuing up to take the England international when his contract expires.
However, Lampard's desire is to see out his career at Chelsea. He even offered to take a huge pay cut in order to secure his stay at Stamford Bridge, reiterating his magnificent loyalty and apparent lack of financial motive.
There is no doubting that Frank Lampard is still an incredible footballer and has a few more years at the top yet. He is a true icon not only to Chelsea but to the sport as a whole; it's just Chelsea haven't realised it yet.
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