The ultimate professional. The best goalscoring midfielder of a generation, possibly ever.
Chelsea’s top scorer. Chelsea’s best ever player.
Equalising goalscorer during Chelsea’s vital game against Manchester City. For Manchester City.
Recipient of a standing ovation from away fans who sung his name long after the final whistle. What a 90 minutes for Frank Lampard.
A player who won every domestic trophy there was to win with Chelsea and then some. Frank Lampard has always been someone who could hold his head up high on and off the field, and the match against his former club was no different.
Yes, Chelsea are still in his heart – and he is certainly still loved by the fans, that much was clear to see, and despite taking two points from them, the Blues faithful still tried to give Lampard a fraction of the send-off he was denied upon leaving Stamford Bridge. They never got to say goodbye, and still they don’t really feel like they have.
The Frank Lampard / Chelsea love story still has some distance to go yet, and despite his impending move to the MLS, a stint as a coach on Jose Mourinho’s staff and one day even as eventual manager at the club is not out of the question for the man Chelsea fans call Super Frank. In fact, it is the stuff of dreams.
Lampard, ever the consummate professional, left Chelsea in the summer after Jose Mourinho rightly decided to sign Cesc Fabregas and allowed Lampard to leave in order to do so, but that must have hurt. To be replaced by an old adversary is never the nicest of things, but being denied a goodbye on the final day of the season, when his future was up in the air, did not go down well with the fans or their number eight.
Yes, some fans will disagree with the decision to join Manchester City – and you can hardly blame them after Lampard stated he would never play for another Premier League club – but this is football and once you leave a club, you have to look after number one.
City came along with the offer of playing for them until the MLS season starts up and whilst Manuel Pellegrini may have seen this as the ideal chance to add another English player to his squad and some experience and professionalism for the younger players, Lampard saw it as the chance to prove to his former club and probably himself, that he can still play at the highest level. Maybe not for 90 minutes, but he still has it in flashes.
Flashes of brilliance was not what Chelsea needed this season. They needed Cesc. They needed to move on from the Didier Drogba / Frank Lampard reliance that served them so well, and they have.
City meanwhile have profited from that whist Lampard is showing that he is as lethal in the box as ever. How ironic that the club he really made his name at and cultivated that reputation of being the best goalscoring midfielder in the world over the last decade were to be the ones he punished with his first goal for his new club. Given the nature of football, should we really of expected anything less?
Manuel Pellegrini did not, that is for sure. His post match comments told you everything you needed to know about that. Putting Lampard on was a clear and calculated move – and it paid off in the short term. Long term, it will just have served to drive Jose Mourinho further on his quest to win the title this season.
Lamaprd meanwhile looked shocked to have scored. His run into the box was trademark and the finish instinctive. He couldn’t have missed even if he had wanted to – the natural instinct cultivated over all those years in the darker shade of blue made sure of that.
His reaction was touching, as was that of the Chelsea fans. You don’t see that everyday, let alone in football, and everyone watching knew that they were witnessing something special. They could have gone eight points clear of City, instead it was their number eight who came back to haunt them, but their reaction was nothing short of magical.
There is only one man Chelsea fans idolise more than their Super Frank, and that is Jose Mourinho – who will have Lampard on his coaching staff one day, make no mistake. The Special One claimed after the game that the Super One’s love story with Chelsea ended the minute he left the club and signed for Manchester City.
Well, sorry Jose, but for once, Chelsea fans seem to disagree. Their reaction to Lampard spoke a thousand words and showed that the love story is very much still in tact- and going strong.
Chelsea fans. Is Frank Lampard always going to be a legend in your eyes or is Jose Mourinho right and the time for love stories over? Let us know your thoughts below or tweet us @LaFootyettes.