Chelsea legend Lampard announces his retirement

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The former England international midfielder confirms that his playing career is coming to an end at the age of 38, turning down offers to continue

Chelsea legend Frank Lampard announced his immediate retirement from playing football on Thursday, at the age of 38.

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The midfielder last played for New York City FC but saw his contract expire in the summer after helping Patrick Vieira's men to the Eastern Conference semi-finals, where they were eliminated 7-0 by Toronto FC in the play-offs.

Former England international Lampard had recently pondered the topic of retirement in an interview, stating he was reluctant to leave the game too soon for fear of regrets.

However, the veteran - who moved to MLS after a 20-year Premier League career spent at the likes of West Ham, Chelsea and Manchester City - spurned several offers to return back to England in order to hang up his boots.

"After 21 incredible years, I have decided that now is the right time to finish my career as a professional footballer," Lampard wrote in a heartfelt post on Instagram. 

"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. 

"I have many people to thank. I thank my parents for instilling in me the values of hard work, dedication and professionalism, values which I have carried with me in everything that I do.

Frank Lampard Chelsea Stoke

"I would like to thank the amazing team-mates, coaches, managers and backroom staff that I was privileged to work with. I’d also 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.

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"More recently, Manchester City and NYCFC. 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, 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.

 

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. I have many people to thank. I thank my parents for instilling in me the values of hard work, dedication and professionalism, values which I have carried with me in everything that I do. I am forever grateful for the support of my family, my wife Christine and my two daughters Luna and Isla. What you have given me off the pitch has always been my strength on it. I love you all very much. Also, my friends and my own team that have always been there for me. I would like to thank the amazing team-mates, coaches, managers and backroom staff that I was privileged to work with. I’d also 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 NYCFC. 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, 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 teammates 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.

A video posted by Frank Lampard (@franklampard) on

"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 teammates such incredible support. Their passion and hunger drove me on personally to give my best year after year."

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"I couldn't have done it without them."

Lampard had come through the youth ranks of West Ham - where his father, Frank Lampard Sr. played - making his breakthrough in the senior team before his performances earned him a move to Chelsea in 2001.

He cemented his place as a Blues legend after winning three Premier League titles, a Champions League and one Europa League, making a total of over 600 appearances in all competitions for the Stamford Bridge club.

Frank Lampard Chelsea

The 106-capped ex-England star departed in 2014 to play a single season for Man City before a short stint in the United States.

Lampard had already indicated he would like to continue working in football, dreaming of an eventual return to Chelsea as he begins working on his coaching badges at B level having been alerted to the opportunity by FA technical director Dan Ashworth.

And he reiterated that desire to coach in his retirement post, writing: "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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