English Premier League

Former Chelsea star Frank Lampard retires

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 February, 2017, 3:24am
UPDATED : Friday, 03 February, 2017, 3:24am

After 1,019 games and 303 goals in 21 years, former Chelsea star Frank Lampard has decided to retire from international soccer.

“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,” the striker wrote in a long essay posted to Instagram on Thursday. “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.”

Lampard went on to thank his family, friends and others who “have always been there” for him, as well as his various teammates, coaches, managers and staff he’s worked with.

He gave shout outs to West Ham United, where he debuted in 1996, as well as Manchester City and NYCFC, where he spent his last two seasons.

“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,” he said.

No surprise, however, it was his time at Chelsea, where Lampard played from 2001 to 2014, that the player remembers most fondly in his career.

“[T]he largest part of my heart belongs to Chelsea, a club which has given me so many great memories,” he said. “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,” he added. “Their passion and hunger drove me on personally to give my best year after year. I couldn’t have done it without them.”

In his career, Lampard won 11 major trophies, including three Premier League titles and the Champions League trophy with Chelsea. Lampard also won four FA Cups, two League Cups and the Europa League title with the team.

Lampard may no longer take the field as a player, but he doesn’t plan to leave the sport entirely.

“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.”