Frank Lampard: Chelsea midfielder to leave Stamford Bridge

Lampard on Chelsea departure

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard has announced he will leave the Blues after 13 years at Stamford Bridge.

The England international, 35, the club's all-time leading scorer with 211 goals, is out of contract this month.

Since joining from West Ham in 2001, Lampard has won 11 major trophies, including three Premier League titles and the Champions League in 2012.

"This club has become part of my life," said Lampard, who could retire, but has had offers from 16 other clubs.

He is currently with the England squad in Miami ahead of the World Cup and will not make any decision about his future until after the tournament.

After signing for a fee of £11m, Lampard made 648 appearances for Chelsea, putting him third in the most appearances for the club behind Ron Harris on 795 and Peter Bonetti on 729.

During his time with the west London club, he also won four FA Cups, two League Cups and the Europa League.

"When I arrived at this fantastic club 13 years ago, I would never have believed that I would be fortunate enough to play so many games and enjoy sharing in so much success," added Lampard, Chelsea's Player of the Year on three occasions.

"The club will move forward and, as a Chelsea man, I have no doubt that, with the quality of the players that are there, they will continue with the success that we have all enjoyed over the past seasons."

Lampard, whose club form earned him second place behind Ronaldinho in Fifa's Ballon d'Or award of 2005, signed a one-year contract extension in May 2013 and made 40 appearances in his final season under Jose Mourinho.

Chelsea FC's official website said Lampard "helped change the way football views the modern central midfield player" and that he leaves with the club's "enormous gratitude".external-link

"That Lampard has won more international caps while playing for Chelsea than anyone else in our history only strengthens the argument that he is one of the very greatest players to have represented the club," the Blues added.external-link

"We have never seen his like in our midfield before and we will be very blessed to again see his equal."

He will be the second high-profile name to leave Stamford Bridge this summer, with team-mate Ashley Cole, 33, also out of contract and set to depart after eight years.

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech tweeted:external-link "It has been a privilege to have played with a true Chelsea legend and one of the most influential Premier League players ever."

England team-mates praise Lampard

Lampard, the son of West Ham defender Frank Lampard senior, first played for England in October 1999 and has gone on to make 103 appearances, scoring 29 goals.

The midfielder played at Euro 2004 as well as the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.

Only former Newcastle and England striker Alan Shearer has been involved in more Premier League goals than the Chelsea player, scoring or assisting on 324 occasions compared to Lampard's 272.

"What a career he has had at Chelsea," Shearer told BBC Radio 5 live Breakfast.

The Match of the Day pundit added that for a centre forward it would be a "great record" to have scored as many goals as Lampard did.

"As a midfielder, it's absolutely sensational," continued Shearer. "I've had some great battles with Frank and he is ever the true professional."


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