Frank Lampard has announced that he will not be playing for Chelsea Football Club, and I'm sure for many like myself this will come as very saddening news. The man who was the first footballer I ever watched score a goal, has been linked with a move to new MLS franchise New York City FC.
Lampard has spent 13 superb seasons at Chelsea and made 648 appearances, becoming the club's leading goalscorer with 211 goals. However, as age got the better of him he began to be pushed out of his frequent starting 11 roles to the likes of Ramires and Nemanja Matic.
Nonetheless, Lampard has and always will be a top player, being the highest scoring Premier League midfielder of all-time, and will leave a legacy in England's top flight no matter where he goes next.
From his début, he was ever-present in the Chelsea first team and made 164 consecutive Premier League appearances, a record for an outfield player. He established himself as a prolific scorer at the west London club and was a key part of the sides which won back-to-back Premier League titles in 2004–05 and 2005–06 and a domestic cup double in 2007. He was voted England Player of the Year for two consecutive years in 2004 and 2005.
When he signed a new contract with the Blues in 2008, he was (at the time) the highest-paid Premier League footballer. Who knew he would then go on to become one of the club's greatest every players and the club's all time top scorer, scoring 10 goals or more in 10 consecutive season.
Lampard's most prolific season, at least stats wise, came in the 2009/10 season when he scored 22 league goals and picked up 17 league assists. He played a key role in that season when Chelsea completed their first League and FA Cup double.
Lampard is a three-time Chelsea player of the year winner - he sits as one of seven players, and the only midfielder, to have scored 150 or more goals in the Premier League as well as being second in the all-time assists table only behind Ryan Giggs (who is also leaving his club as a player this season).
In 2005, Lampard was voted the FWA Footballer of the Year and was runner-up in both the FIFA World Player of the Year and the Ballon d'Or. Lampard also received the FWA award in 2010.
The long-time Chelsea vice-captain led the team as captain to their only Champions League victory against Bayern Munich in 2012, as well as leading the team to Europa League glory the following season.
Internationally, Lampard has made over 100 appearances for England since making his debut in October of 1999. "Lamps" picked up 29 goals in the process and was famously denied a controversial goal in the 2010 World Cup. He was the top scorer for England in their 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign with five goals.
The man who from midfield has been Chelsea's top scorer in four seasons, also has the fourth highest all-time performances in the Premier League, making 577 appearances (429 of which for Chelsea). It is difficult to fit in an article how much this man has achieved and done for Chelsea and it's fans however his presence will surely be missed and hopefully he'll have a role to play in the club later on possibly as a coach or manager.
An FA Cup and Europa League final Man of the Match, a world XI and UEFA Euro team of the tournament inclusion, a three time premier-league team of the season inclusion who has won three premier league's and four fa cups deserves as much credit as possible in my opinion.
Lampard, you will truly be missed at Chelsea and hope that wherever you go next they value you just as highly as Chelsea faithful's did.
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