FRANK LAMPARD HAS confirmed this evening that he will be leaving Chelsea. The club’s record goalscorer released a statement thanking the club and supporters but not revealing where he will be moving to next.
The midfielder is currently with the England World Cup squad in Miami, Florida and focusing his efforts on a seventh major tournament campaign. His Chelsea contract expired at the end of the season but there had been talk of a one-year extension.
Lampard was reported to have held exploratory talks with new MLS franchise New York City, who signed up David Villa over the weekend. There has also been speculation over moves to newly-promoted QPR or his old club, West Ham.
The statement reads: “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.
“This club has become part of my life and I have so many people to thank for the opportunity. Firstly, 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.”
It continued, “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.”
Lampard, who scored 211 times in 648 club appearances at Chelsea, paid tribute to the staff behind the scenes and declared that future success was there for the taking. He concluded:
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, Amsterdam, Munich, 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.”