Antonio Conte has urged Frank Lampard to take time to consider his next step after the Chelsea legend announced his retirement from football on Thursday.
West Ham academy product Lampard made more than 600 appearances for Chelsea, scoring 211 goals before ending his career with stints at Manchester City and New York City.
Thoughts have inevitably turned to what Lampard will do with his retirement, with reports suggesting the Football Association could be about to offer the former midfielder a coaching role.
While Conte hailed Lampard’s legacy at Stamford Bridge, he stopped short of promising the 38-year-old a place on his backroom staff anytime soon.
“It’s a pity when a great player like Frank Lampard decides to stop his career, because you lose a great player, a fantastic player,” said the Italian, whose side host Arsenal on Saturday.
“The whole world of football is a bit disappointed in this type of situation.
“Lampard for sure for this club is a legend. He played 13 years and won a lot. He played 100 or more times for the national team.
“But I think we must respect his decision because every player understands the right moment to end his career.
“I have great respect for him, for his career and for the man. I don’t know him very well, but I heard a lot of positive things about him.”
Pressed on a potential role for Lampard at the club, Conte added: “I don’t know his thoughts.
“It’s important when you decide to finish your career to take a bit of time to decide to make the best decision for you.
“I think Frank can decide which is the best way for him in football, but I don’t know his thoughts.”
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