Chelsea footballer Frank Lampard is one of the names that has played an instrumental role in escalating Chelsea’s status to a European powerhouse. Frank Lampard Chelsea career was so astonishing that he is considered a legend in the overall history of English football.
Lampards resume also features stints at West Ham, Manchester City, and New York City FC. But Frank Lampard’s Chelsea legacy has made him synonymous with the club. Yes, Lampard did represent other clubs as a player, but his Stamford Bridge days will be always special.
In his 13 year stay with the Blues, Lampard helped them win three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, a UEFA Europa League title, and a Champions League title-the Holy Grail of European football. Now, he has returned to the club as a manager and is trying to replicate his past glories in a new role.
In this article, we will revisit some of the moments that have immortalised Frank Lampard as a perennial Chelsea great. We will also discuss how he forged himself into one of the most lethal goalscoring midfielders in football history and rate his performance as Chelsea’s current boss.
Frank Lampard: Life Before Chelsea
Frank Lampard’s father, Frank Lampard Sr., spent the lion’s share of his playing career at West Ham and also served seven years as the club’s assistant manager. So, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Lampard’s footballing journey began with The Hammers.
After signing a professional contract with West Ham in 1994, a 16-year-old Frank Lampard went to Swansea City on loan. Before returning to his parent club in 1996, Lampard played eleven times for the Welsh outfit in the Second Division and found the net against Brighton & Hove Albion.
But, Lampard didn’t have the ideal start to his senior West Ham career upon his return to Upton Park. He made two sub appearances for West Ham after arriving midway through the 1995/96 season. The following season, he got more minutes but also suffered a setback.
Lampard made 16 appearances for West Ham in 1996/97. Playing his final match of the season on March 15, 1997, when he broke his leg at Villa Park during a 0-0 away match against Aston Villa. The visiting West Ham fans booed him off the pitch which made him contemplate quitting.
However, Lampard managed to recover from the psychological shock and return to the pitch. He won over the Upton Park crowd and established himself as a first-team regular. He signed a new contract at the club in 1999 before leaving for Chelsea in 2001.
West Ham fans were hoping Lampard would follow his father’s footsteps and stay committed to the club. But, destiny had other plans for the mercurial box-to-box midfielder. Lampard played 172 senior matches for West Ham, scored 32 goals and made 20 assists.
Chelsea Sign Frank Lampard
In the summer window of 2001, Chelsea spent a hefty fee of￡11 million to make Lampard come to the South East side of the English capital.
This was a time when Chelsea were not the frontrunners in the title race. But, that was about to change very soon.
In his first season at Chelsea, Lampard didn’t make a lot of mistakes, but he wasn’t “extra-ordinary” either. He scored a few goals, was a vigilant presence in the midfield, but not without his fair share of errors. The red card against city rivals Spurs particularly comes to mind.
As he did at West Ham, Lampard continued to expand his influence at Chelsea. He continued to blossom as a player. Got left out of the England squad for the 2002 World Cup, but that only motivated him to work harder and become a better player.
Chelsea had one of their best Premier League seasons in years when they finished second behind an Arsenal team that went the whole season undefeated in 2003/04. They also made it to the Champions League semi-finals that season, knocking out Arsenal in the quarters.
In both competitions, Frank Lampard was the key player for Chelsea. In the Premier League, Lampard scored 10 goals and made 7 assists, While in Europe, the midfielder made 6 goal contributions including 4 goals and 2 assists in 12 matches.
Frank Lampard Chelsea Legend: The Road To Greatness
Jose Mourinho replaced Claudio Ranieri as the new Chelsea manager in the 2004/2005 season. ‘’The Special One’’ came to Chelsea on the back of a historic Champions League triumph with Porto. He brought along the magic that would make Chelsea very successful in subsequent years.
Mourinho set off Chelsea to a journey that transformed them into one of the biggest clubs in England. He can also take credit for making Frank Lampard a Chelsea legend. The Portuguese managed to unlock the midfielder’s true potential and made him a club icon.
Frank Lampard caught eyes for England in the 2004 Euros and Mourinho didn’t fail to recognise that he had one of the planet’s best talents at his disposal. Lampard thrived under Mourinho and helped Chelsea win back-to-back league titles in 2005 and 2006.
As a reward for his excellence, Lampard was nominated for the Ballon d’Or in 2005. He did miss out the ultimate prize to Barcelona’s phenomenal Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho, but that did little to put a dent into his burgeoning level of confidence.
After domestic domination, Chelsea set their eyes on European silverware and Lampard was pivotal to their ambitions. In 2011, Lampard wore the captain’s armband as Chelsea put aside past disappointments to win the Champions League trophy for the first time.
The victory at Munich somewhat mitigated the agonising Champions League final loss to Manchester United in 2008. Lampard had scored the equaliser for his team that night in Moscow, but it wasn’t enough to avoid a penalty shootout loss.
Frank Lampard Playing Style
Pundits universally agree on the fact that Frank Lampard was one of the best midfielders of his time. Lampard was a utility player, who could take upon playing roles in the middle of the park, but his natural was of a box-to-box midfielder.
Managers utilised him as a classic central midfielder, a defensive midfielder, or an attacking midfielder. In special cases, he would partner up with a primary striker to maximise the goal threat of the team. His career tally of 274 goals is testament to his goal-scoring prowess.
Frank Lampard was a genuine midfield engine, who combined his incredible stamina with his impressive game reading skills. The end product gifted us one of the finest artists of the midfield craft. He specialised in winning back possession and channelling the ball forward.
His ability to hit the target from distance also made him a popular choice for set piece duties. He was also a great leader on the pitch. Alongside John Terry, he was one of the most commanding voices in the Chelsea dressing room back in the day.
Frank Lampard Chelsea Legend: Top 5 Moments
5. Becoming Chelsea’s All-Time Leading Goalscorer
Frank Lampard’s unbelievable stats as a goalscorer would seem envious to many prolific strikers of this day. His eye for goal was one of the many remarkable attributes that made him such a great player. On May 11, 2012, Lampard became Chelsea’s highest goal scorer of all time.
His goal in Chelsea’s 2-1 away win at Aston Villa saw him surpass Bobby Tambling in the all-time scoring chart for Chelsea. With 211 goals to his name, Lampard still sits atop the list, with no close competitor currently insight. Tambling had scored 2020 goals for the Blues.
4. Winning The Double With Chelsea In 2010
In the 2009/10 season, Frank Lampard was a prime contender for the Premier League Golden Boot. He finished the season with 22 PL goals, but his colleague Didier Drogba outscored him by a substantial margin (29 goals in 32 appearances.)
However, Lampard should have no regret about missing the Golden Boot as he lifted the Premier League and the FA Cup that season. It was the first time in Chelsea Football Club’s history that they managed to win a domestic double.
3. Scoring The FA Cup Final Winner In 2009
What makes Frank Lampard Chelsea legend? He could step up on the big occasions and lead his team to victory. In 2008/09, he was excellent throughout the season, having scored 27 goals in all competitions. And he finished the season in a befitting high.
The 2009 FA Cup between Chelsea and Everton was in a 1-1 deadlock until the 70th minute. Lampard put his side ahead scoring from the edge of the penalty box. He danced past Phil Neville and placed the ball into the corner of the net. It turned out to be the decisive goal of the tie.
2. Winning The First Premier League Title With Chelsea
Frank Lampard was already one of Chelsea’s best players going into the 2004/05 season. After the end of that season, he escalated himself to the echelon of global elites. His performances earned him a Ballon d’Or nomination, certifying that he was one of the best in the world.
Lampard finished runner-up in the Ballon d’Or, but he was named the PFA Player of the Year. His heroics also led Chelsea to their first league title in decades. He scored the winning goal in the match against Bolton Wanderers that sealed Chelsea’s title win.
1. Winning The Champions League With Chelsea
Before 2011, European success proved to be elusive to Lampard and his team. He had already experienced the heartbreak of a final and two semi-final losses in the Champions League. But, Frank Lampard Chelsea story is a tale of persistence and glory.
Lampard finally had his hand on the Champions League trophy as the Blues marched on to a historic victory against Bayern Munich. Lampard led the Londoners to their first Champions League trophy with regular captain John Terry serving a suspension.
Frank Lampard England
England was blessed with midfielders like Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, and Paul Scholes. But, the Three Lions fans often regret that all these players broke into the scene simultaneously and their similar profiles denied England the chance to bring out the best of them.
In terms of silverware, Lampard’s England career pales substantially compared to his Chelsea achievements. He represented his country in three World Cups, but couldn’t get past the quarterfinals in any occasion. He also played in two Euro competitions.
Lampard earned his first England cap on October 10, 1999, in a friendly match against Belgium. He played his last game as an England international on 24 June 2014. In between, he played 106 games for England and scored 29 times.
When Did Frank Lampard Become Chelsea Manager?
Frank Lampard got his appointment as the new Chelsea head coach on July 4, 2019. Previously, he had managed Championship side Derby County in the 2018/19 season and led them to the Playoffs final, where they lost to Aston Villa.
His first season as a manager at Chelsea was challenging because Chelsea had a transfer ban and they had just sold their best player in Eden Hazard, who joined Real Madrid. But, Lampard defied all expectations and delivered a top-four finish.
Chelsea spent heavily in the 2020/21 season and brought in the likes of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Solaiman Mendy, Thiago Silva, and Hakim Ziyech to address their shortcomings. With the new recruitments, Lampard will be hopeful of retaining Chelsea’s top 4 status.
Undoubtedly, Frank Lampard is a Chelsea legend. He has devoted the prime time of his career to the Blues and helped them win numerous trophies. Now, he is back at the club and is guiding them through a rebuilding process.