Newspaper article International New York Times

Chelsea Loses Someone Who Did It All -- and More

Newspaper article International New York Times

Chelsea Loses Someone Who Did It All -- and More

Article excerpt

Frank Lampard called time on his 13-year career.

Frank Lampard hit Miami on Monday, then called time on his 13- year career with Chelsea.

He was in Florida to captain England's team in a World Cup warm- up game against Ecuador on Wednesday, and there is plenty of speculation that he will return to the United States to join New York City F.C., a new M.L.S. franchise that will begin play next year.

His future, he said, will not be decided until after the World Cup. Lampard turns 36 this month and reportedly has 16 offers to play for teams on both sides of the Atlantic.

But in an age where players change clubs as casually as city commuters change buses, he has been one player who stands for consistency, longevity and loyalty. The Chelsea F.C. website concluded a 2,000-word tribute to him Monday with these words: "Any Chelsea supporter who has had the good fortune to watch Super Frank Lampard in full flow will know we have never seen his like in our midfield before, and we will be very blessed to again see his equal."

In raw statistics, Lampard's career is indeed unlikely ever to repeated by anyone in Chelsea blue. He played in the industrious heart of the team, a midfield workhorse who nevertheless so mastered the art of timing his forward runs that he scored more goals than anyone else for the club.

His 211 goals in 648 games for the team eclipsed the Chelsea record of 202 goals set in 1970 by Bobby Tambling. And while it is true that Tambling needed almost one-third fewer games to notch his goals, it is also a fact that Tambling was an out-and-out striker, playing at a time when Chelsea was not always a first-division team.

Lampard always was -- and England hopes he will continue to be for another month -- far more than a goal scorer. He is a key man in the midfield. He combines defense with attacks. He lends balance and leadership. And after 103 caps for his country, he should know by now when to run with the ball, when to pass it to younger legs and when, indeed, to strike from deep.

Above all else, Lampard has been the example to younger players of where consistency, desire and a commitment to self-improvement can lead.

He hasn't been, by any means, the most gifted individual on any of the teams he has played for. In his time at Chelsea, there has been the awesome power of Didier Drogba and the impish Gianfranco Zola with his dancing feet.

"Lamps" saw them all come and go, yet he remained. He, the captain John Terry and the left back Ashley Cole forged the English spine to a club that changed its roster on a seasonal basis, depending on which world-class players were imported by Chelsea's Russian owner, Roman Abramovich.

Lampard was born into a soccer family. His father, Frank Lampard Sr., was a West Ham United and England defender. …

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