Article

Lampard to leave Chelsea

2 June 2014 20:32

Frank Lampard has announced he will leave Chelsea, bringing an end to his 13-year stay at Stamford Bridge.

With the 35-year-old's contract due to expire, there had been widespread speculation about the midfielder's future, and if he would be offered a fresh deal by manager Jose Mourinho.

But with New York City touted as a possible destination for Chelsea's all-time record goalscorer, Lampard confirmed on Monday that he would be leaving the club.

Lampard has played a major role in Chelsea's most successful period, as aided by the money of owner Roman Abramovich, they became a dominant force in English and European football.

In his time at Stamford Bridge, Lampard won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA 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," Lampard said in a statement.

"This club has become part of my life and I have so many people to thank for the opportunity. Firstly, (former chairman) Ken Bates, who put his neck on the line to sign me as a young player and without him I would not have even begun this experience.

"Roman Abramovich, the man who saved our club and took us all to new levels. His desire to push the club to the top of the football world has rubbed off on everyone.

"All the managers and coaches who have helped me develop my game during the time I have been here. I have learnt from every one of them.

"All the brilliant team-mates who I have been lucky enough to train and play alongside for so long. Not just their football qualities but also the friendships I have gained along the way.

"I'd also like to give a special mention to all the staff and people behind the scenes at the club who do not receive the glory but without them the club would simply not function.

"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.

"Finally and most importantly, I would like to thank the Chelsea fans. I believe they are the greatest fans in world football. You have supported me from the moment I arrived. Not only on the pitch, but in difficult moments in my personal life off the pitch. I will never forget.

"I feel honoured to have shared so many special times with you. Bolton (where they won their first ever Premier League title), Amsterdam (where they won the Europa League), Munich (where they won the Champions League), the list goes on and on. I, and we as a team, could not have achieved those moments without your support.

"Whatever the next challenge is for me I will always be amongst you and have Chelsea in my home and in my heart. Hopefully I will get to see you all soon to say goodbye properly. In the meantime thank you for the memories and keep making history!"

Chelsea subsequently paid tribute to Lampard on their official website.

An article expressing appreciation of the midfielder began: "Frank Lampard's momentous career as a Chelsea player will end when his contract expires at the end of this month,

"Lampard has not yet announced his destination but all at Chelsea Football Club wish him every success for the future.

"He leaves with our enormous gratitude for the major part he played over 13 years packed with unforgettable victories, trophies lifted and records set."

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