Frank Lampard is approaching the end of his first season as Derby County manager, but today we would like to remember his extraordinary career as a professional footballer.
Frank Lampard is a graduate of the West Ham United football academy. He joined the club in 1994, when his father was the assistant coach, while his uncle Harry Redknapp was the manager of West Ham.
He signed his first professional contract with the club in 1995 and immediately went on loan to Second Division Swansea City, where he made his professional debut.
Lampard had his breakthrough season in 1997-98 when he managed to score 10 goals across all competitions for the Hammers, helping the club finish fifth in the Premier League.
The young midfielder spent six seasons at Upton Park and scored 39 goals for West Ham. He moved to Chelsea in £11 million transfer deal in June 2001.
As Frank Lampard retires, here's one of my favourite shots as he comes on for his West Ham debut in 1996 pic.twitter.com/dbCYZ1gs5p
— Steve Bacon (@onesteviebacon) February 3, 2017
He didn’t have any particular success with the club in his first years at Stamford Bridge but then entered Roman Abramovich.
The Russian billionaire bought the club in 2003 and invested a lot of money to transform Chelsea from mid-table English club to a true European giant.
Abramovich appointed Jose Mourinho as Chelsea manager in the following summer. The Portuguese immediately noticed Frank’s leadership skills and made him the beating heart of his Chelsea side.
The Blues won the League Cup and dominated the Premier League, winning record-breaking 95 points in his first season at Stamford Bridge. And who was their best player? – Frank Lampard.
‘Super Frank’ also won the 2005 Premier League Player of the Season award and finished second in the Ballon d’Or race, behind Ronaldinho.
Lampard played as an all-around box-to-box midfielder and possessed incredible playmaking and goalscoring ability. He had a perfect vision of the game and excellent positioning sense, which made him a constant threat for the opposition.
Frank could score with his both feet, with his head, from outside the box, while he could provide an assist with his eyes closed.
Of course, Lampard and Chelsea didn’t stop after their first big success together. They retained the Premier League in the next season and won it again in 2010.
He also won four FA Cup trophies with the Blues and he scored the winning goal in the 2009 final against Everton.
The midfielder played his first Champions League final with Chelsea in 2008. He scored the equalising goal for his team, but the Blues lost the game after an unfortunate penalty shootout against Manchester United.
Frank Lampard, 38 today…https://t.co/PJIJkpmKKH
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) June 20, 2016
However, Lampard got his hands on the ‘Big Ears’ trophy four years later, as Chelsea beat Bayern Munich in the final.
Super Frank’ left Chelsea in 2014 and joined New York City FC. He spent the 2014-15 season on loan at Manchester City, scoring six goals in his final Premier League campaign, including one against his former side Chelsea.
He played a total of 609 games in the Premier League – third best on the all-time table, behind Gareth Barry and Ryan Giggs.
Lampard was one of the best midfielders of his generation and probably the greatest player Chelsea ever had. He netted 211 goals in the blue jersey of the West London giants, becoming the all-time top scorer of the club.