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Chelsea Great Frank Lampard Announces Retirement From Professional Football

Frank Lampard. (Getty Images)

Frank Lampard. (Getty Images)

Former England and Chelsea midfield star Frank Lampard said he was retiring Thursday at the age of 38 after turning down "a number of exciting offers" to continue playing.

London: Former England and Chelsea midfield star Frank Lampard said he was retiring Thursday at the age of 38 after turning down "a number of exciting offers" in Britain and abroad.

"After 21 incredible years I have decided that now is the right time to finish my career as a professional footballer," Lampard, Chelsea's record goalscorer, wrote on Facebook.

"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 did not say what he plans to do next, but said he was grateful to the Football Association for the opportunity to do his coaching badges, suggesting he may go into management.

Lampard left New York City FC in the autumn and also played for West Ham United and Manchester City in the Premier League.

But it was at Stamford Bridge where he really made his name as a prolific midfielder.

He scored 211 times for the Blues and won every major club honour, netting the goals which in 2005 secured the club's first championship title in 50 years.

"Of course, the largest part of my heart belongs to Chelsea Football Club, a club which has given me so many great memories," Lampard wrote.

"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.

"Their passion and hunger drove me on personally to give my best year after year. I couldn't have done it without them."

Lampard's message on Facebook:

After 21 incredible years, I have decided that now is the right time to finish my career as a professional footballer. 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. 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.

I have many people to thank.

I thank my parents for instilling in me the values of hard work, dedication and professionalism, values which I have carried with me in everything that I do. I am forever grateful for the support of my family, my wife Christine and my two daughters Luna and Isla. What you have given me off the pitch has always been my strength on it. I love you all very much. Also, my friends and my own team that have always been there for me. I would like to thank the amazing team-mates, coaches, managers and backroom staff that I was privileged to work with. I’d also like to pay tribute to the clubs that I have represented. Firstly, West Ham United who gave me my debut in 1996. Thanks to the people there that believed in me at that young age. More recently Manchester City and New York City FC. 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.

Of course, the largest part of my heart belongs to Chelsea Football Club, a club which has given me so many great memories. 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. Their passion and hunger drove me on personally to give my best year after year. I couldn't have done it without them.

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.

first published:February 02, 2017, 17:00 IST