Frank Lampard retired from soccer on Thursday, ending a 21-year career in which he won every major honor at club level with Chelsea and established himself as the Premier League’s highest-scoring midfielder.
Renowned for his professionalism, work rate and the timing of his runs into the penalty box, the 38-year-old Lampard will go down as one of the greats of the Premier League era.
In his time at Chelsea from 2001-14, he became the club’s record scorer with 211 goals, made 649 appearances and was the heartbeat of teams that won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the Champions League in 2012. He started out at West Ham before finishing his career with short stints at Manchester City and then New York City FC in Major League Soccer.
Only strikers Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney and Andy Cole have scored more Premier League goals than Lampard’s 177, a total that includes 10 or more goals in 10 straight seasons for Chelsea. And only Ryan Giggs and Gareth Barry have made more Premier League appearances than Lampard’s 609.
Lampard also played 106 times for England.
“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,” Lampard said in a statement on social media accounts.
Lampard will now study to become a coach, which would see him follow the path taken by his father, Frank Lampard Sr.
Such was his impact at Chelsea that in 2005, the year the London club won the Premier League title for the first time under Jose Mourinho, he finished runner-up behind Ronaldinho in the voting for FIFA’s World Player of the Year award.
“Of course, the largest part of my heart belongs to Chelsea, a club which has given me so many great memories,” Lampard said. “I will never forget the opportunity they gave me and the success that we managed to achieve together.”
Although he scored 29 goals — including nine penalties — for England, he couldn’t transfer his success at club level to the international stage. Successive coaches failed to find the right balance in the team’s midfield as attack-minded players Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Paul Scholes fought for spots in central midfield.