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” to continue playing.
“After 21 incredible years I have decided that now is the right time to finish my career as a professional footballer,” he wrote on Facebook. “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.”
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.”