(By: Sindi Dulluku)
After over two remarkable decades on the field, Frank Lampard has officially retired his professional soccer career.
The English soccer star took to social media to make the announcement last Thursday writing, “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.”
Throughout his career, Lampard dedicated most of his years to playing for Chelsea FC. Having spent over a decade with the club – totalling a devoted 13 years – Lampard is Chelsea’s all-time leading scorer and is often regarded as the club’s greatest player in history.
On the national front, Lampard represented England from 1999 until 2014 when he announced his official retirement from international football. Altogether he has represented his country more than 100 times, scored over 300 career goals, and won three Premier League titles.
Ryerson Rams reflect on Lampard’s legacy
Undeniably, Lampard is a presence to be matched—both as a midfielder and as an all-round player.
“His ability to score from midfield was only matched by a few ever,” said Greg Wise, defender of the Ryerson Rams men’s soccer team. “He revolutionized the number eight.”
“He was always such a classy player,” said the Rams goalkeeper, Alex Christie. “A plethora of titles and many more goals to his name. He will go down as one of the best players England has ever had.”
Whether playing for a league team or representing his nation on the world stage, he will certainly be missed on the field by many.
“It’s sad seeing a living legend like Lampard announce his retirement from the game,” said Wise, “but we all should be happy that we got to witness his greatness.”
Friends and teammates bid farewell
Upon making his official announcement, Lampard sparked a cascade of online tributes to his extraordinary career from friends and former colleagues.
England teammate, Wayne Rooney, took to social media to congratulate Lampard on a “brilliant career” posting a picture of the duo side by side on the field.
Gary Cahill, his teammate on both Chelsea and the England national team, took to Twitter to share his thoughts.
— Gary Cahill (@GaryJCahill) February 2, 2017
Former English soccer player Jamie Carragher tweeted that he could finally reveal his respect for Lampard.
After all those Chelsea battles & Frank Lampard now retiring, I can finally admit the respect I had for him & that he was a great player!
— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) February 2, 2017
Though many fans and friends are sad to see Lampard go, he seems to be enjoying what his well-earned retirement has to offer so far.
Perhaps some hope still remains to one day see Lampard back in the stadium. At the end of his online announcement, Lampard dropped a clear hint that he may be moving into management, writing, “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.”
Perhaps it’s not a final goodbye, but rather a see you soon.
(Header photo courtesy of AFP via Fox Sports)