Former Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard has retired, bringing to an end a 21-year professional career.
The 38-year-old, who spent last year with New York City in Major League Soccer in the US, announced his decision on social media on Thursday.
Lampard made 649 appearances for Chelsea and won 106 England caps.
“Whilst I have received a number of exciting offers to continue playing, at 38 I feel now is the time to begin the next chapter in my life,” said Lampard.
“I’m grateful to the Football Association for the opportunity to study for my coaching qualifications and I look forward to pursuing the off-field opportunities that this decision opens.”
He won 11 major trophies, including three Premier League titles and the Champions League in 2012. Lampard also won four FA Cups, two League Cups and the Europa League.
Only Ryan Giggs (632) and Gareth Barry (615) have made more Premier League appearances than Lampard (609).
His total of 177 goals is the Premier League’s fourth highest behind Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney and Andy Cole.
He has scored more goals from outside the box than any other Premier League player (41).
Lampard scored against a record 39 different teams in the Premier League.
No England player has scored as many penalties as Lampard (nine), excluding shootouts.
Frank Lampard’s legendary status and standing as one of the greatest players of the modern era is cemented by statistics.
When he left Chelsea in the summer of 2014, he was the club’s record goalscorer with 211 goals from 649 appearances – a truly remarkable return for a consummate professional plying his trade in midfield.
Lampard was central to the most successful spell in Chelsea’s history as he and they completed a clean sweep of trophies at home and abroad, a haul that reflected his stellar contribution.
He was the model of consistency, respected and admired by team-mates and opponents alike.
Like his great contemporary Steven Gerrard he struggled to transfer club successes to his England career, but he was still a fine performer on the international stage.
Lampard’s next step looks certain to be into coaching – and with the knowledge gained over a lifetime from his father Frank Sr as well as working with managers such as Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and Guus Hiddink, few would bet against him adding to his successes in this phase of his career.
Lampard joined Chelsea from boyhood club West Ham for a fee of £11m in 2001.
His club-record 211 goals helped the Blues win the Champions League, three Premier Leagues, four FA Cups, two League Cups, the Europa League and a Community Shield.
He played a pivotal role as Jose Mourinho’s side delivered Chelsea’s first top-flight championship in half a century, scoring 13 goals including both in the title-winning 2-0 victory at Bolton in April 2005.
He added 16 league goals the following season as Chelsea retained their title, finishing runner-up to Barcelona forward Ronaldinho in both the Ballon d’Or and Fifa World Player of the Year awards.
Lampard scored 10 or more Premier League goals in 10 successive seasons for Chelsea, reaching 22 as he collected a third Premier League winner’s medal in 2009-10.
Champions League success finally followed in 2011-12 as Lampard captained the side to a penalty shootout win over Bayern Munich in the absence of the suspended John Terry.
“He was definitely a world-class player for a long period of time,” said BBC football analyst and former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin. “I don’t think we rate him as highly as we should do.
“He is kind of remembered just for scoring goals. That he was phenomenal at. There are very few people on the planet who can score that number of goals from midfield.
“He was a better all-round footballer than he was given credit for. When he was moved further back at the end of his career for Chelsea, he realised that his passing, short and long, was exceptional.”
Lampard played a key role in bringing success back to Stamford Bridge, but he was unable to help replicate that trophy-laden touch with the national side.
He made his England debut against Belgium in 1999, going on to win the same amount of caps as Sir Bobby Charlton, but missed out on a place in both the Euro 2000 and World Cup 2002 squads.
Lampard scored three times as England reached the Euro 2004 quarter-finals, and finding a way to fit him and Steven Gerrard into the same midfield was seen as the solution to the national side’s problems.
The pair formed the core of what was tagged England’s ‘golden generation’, but both missed a penalty in a World Cup quarter-final shootout defeat by Portugal in 2006 and England failed to qualify for the Euros two years later.
A last-16 exit followed against Germany in the 2010 World Cup and Lampard missed Euro 2012 through injury, before playing his final major tournament for England in Brazil in 2014, when England went out in the group stage.
“From an England point of view he was pretty spectacular,” added Nevin. “There were times when he got a lot of stick. He still got all those caps and still scored a whole bunch of goals.”
Silencing his critics
Lampard began his career at West Ham, making his debut in January 1996 having progressed through the club’s youth system. But the presence at the club of his dad Frank Lampard Sr, and uncle Harry Redknapp as manager, meant the teenager was singled out for criticism.
Lampard even claimed in his autobiography that some Hammers fans cheered when he broke his leg during a game against Aston Villa.
Later he would face a frosty reception when he controversially arrived at Manchester City after agreeing to join New York City – the MLS franchise set up by the Premier League club and the New York Yankees baseball team – in 2014.
Lampard refused to celebrate when he scored against Chelsea, and while his performances in Manchester saw his deal at Etihad Stadium extended, it prompted an angry reaction in New York.
Lampard finally made his MLS debut in August 2015, but critics were underwhelmed by his performances and, after returning from an injury this season, he was jeered by his own fans and described as “the worst signing in MLS history”.
But he rediscovered his scoring touch and the city celebrated Frank Lampard Day in September after he scored his 300th career goal. He went on to reach double figures in the MLS before announcing his time at New York had come to an end.
“It was an incredible career when you consider he was written off right at the start and told he might not go that far,” said former Scotland international Nevin.
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