Frank Lampard, Chelsea’s all-time record goalscorer, has announced his retirement from professional football.
After coming through West Ham’s famed youth academy, Lampard enjoyed a trophy-laden 13-year spell at Stamford Bridge, winning three Premier League titles, the Champions League, the Europa League, four FA Cups and the League Cup twice.
Following an emotional Chelsea farewell, Lampard signed for MLS side New York City in July 2014 but spent that season on loan at Manchester City, where he scored an equalising goal against his old club Chelsea and refused to celebrate.
Lampard made 106 appearances for England, scoring 29 goals – his last cap coming against Costa Rica in the group stages of the 2014 World Cup.
Announcing his retirement via a lengthy Facebook post, Lampard wrote: “After 21 incredible years, I have decided that now is the right time to finish my career as a professional footballer.
“Whilst I have received a number of exciting offers to continue playing at home and abroad, at 38 I feel now is the time to begin the next chapter in my life. I’m immensely proud of the trophies I’ve won, of representing my country over 100 times and of scoring more than 300 career goals.
Happy retirement, Frank Lampard!
— Premier League (@premierleague) February 2, 2017
“I’d like to pay tribute to the clubs that I have represented. Firstly, West Ham United who gave me my debut in 1996. Thanks to the people there that believed in me at that young age.
“More recently Manchester City and New York City FC. I greatly enjoyed my last playing years at these two clubs and really appreciate the support I received from City Football Group and both clubs’ fans.
“Of course, the largest part of my heart belongs to Chelsea Football Club, a club which has given me so many great memories. I will never forget the opportunity they gave me and the success that we managed to achieve together. It is impossible to give thanks individually to all the people that helped and supported me in my 13 years playing there.
“All I can say is from the day I signed until now and going forward, I’m eternally grateful for everything and to everyone. Chelsea fans gave myself and my team-mates such incredible support.
“Their passion and hunger drove me on personally to give my best year after year. I couldn’t have done it without them.
“Looking forward, I’m grateful to the FA for the opportunity to study for my coaching qualifications and I look forward to pursuing the off-field opportunities that this decision opens.”
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