New York City FC celebrate Frank Lampard Day with win
New York has celebrated Frank Lampard Day in honour of the former England midfielder scoring 300 career goals.
A proclamation was made by the office of city mayor Bill de Blasio before New York City FC's game against DC United on Thursday, declaring 1 September as the day of celebration.
And the former Chelsea, Manchester City and West Ham man marked the occasion by scoring two goals for his side in a 3-2 win.
It represents a remarkable turnaround for the 38-year-old, who was being called the worst signing in MLS history just a little more than three months ago.
The fifth highest-paid player in the league - he earns $6m (£4.52m) a year - joined up with the US side in July 2014 with much fanfare.
But the following month he joined New York City's parent club, Manchester City, seemingly on loan until January 2015. That loan was later extended, which meant the man capped 106 times by his country would not be around for the start of the MLS season - a decision which "outraged" New York's fans.
It then emerged he was contracted to the Manchester club and had not been on loan after all. A statement was issued admitting "a mistake" in communications, adding to New York fans' anger.
Lampard finally made his MLS debut in August 2015 - a year after fans thought he had signed for them. His first season featured three goals in 10 games, with critics underwhelmed by his performances.
He then missed the first 10 games of the current season with injury, and was jeered by his own fans on his return - which came in a 7-0 defeat by rivals New York Red Bulls.
Since returning to the side in June, Lampard's form has been good enough to win the doubters over. The team sit top of the Eastern Conference, and he scored the club's first hat-trick as they beat Colorado Rapids 5-1 last month.
He recently hit his 300th career goal, leading to the mayor's office making its declaration.
Lampard was presented with a letter of proclamation as well as a commemorative shirt and ring before the DC United game.
And his two goals in the match have taken his total to six in the last six games.
"Even when I first came back, I was scoring a few but I felt I needed more fitness," he told reporters afterwards. "And I'm getting to that level now where I'm getting stronger and fitter.
"I never felt like I had a point to prove to people on the outside. I always had a point to prove to myself. I don't want this to be a place where I come here at this point in my career and it doesn't work. I want to make it work. I have that desire."
A word from the mayor...
Each year, the New York Mayor's Office makes anywhere between 150 and 200 proclamations. They are designed to recognise organisations and people with significant New York City connections that are marking a milestone occasion or achievement.
In a statement, mayor De Blasio said Lampard was "one of the greatest midfielders of his generation", adding: "Frank has great stamina, a powerful kick, a shrewd eye and an innovative approach to the world's most popular sport.
"With gratitude and admiration, I extend my congratulations, Frank, and best wishes for continued success. Your mayor will be rooting for you throughout this season and well beyond."
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