Frank Lampard’s retirement from football on Thursday was highly anticipated, and sparked an outpouring of tributes from the football world.
Tributes quickly poured in on social media for the former England and Chelsea midfielder, who scored more than 300 career goals and represented the Three Lions 106 times.
His most recent stint at New York City FC was dubbed by American fans as the “worst signing” in MLS history after he sustained a calf injury and featured in only 10 matches.
Former S-League player Fabien Lewis, who is now a professional youth coach based in the US, disagrees that the signing was a mistake.
“I saw Frank play a few MLS games and I must say he brought a wealth of experience to not only his team, but also the league. In my opinion I think his contributions to MLS is priceless,” he said.
Lewis, who played for Woodlands in Singapore during the 2012 S-League season, now helps aspiring young football players go on to play in college with the option to ply their trade professionally.
Lewis added, “All good things do come to an end. At 38 years old and having playing professionally for 21 years, it was only a matter of time before (Lampard) retired.
“He made great contributions to the game and his work is gladly appreciated. Now I hope he is able to pass on his knowledge to the younger ones.”
In a long and heartfelt message on Instagram, Lampard admitted that the “largest part of his heart” still belonged to Chelsea, but also thanked both Manchester City and New York FC, as well as his boyhood club, West Ham.
“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,” he wrote.
Players who paid tribute to him included Wayne Rooney and Chelsea’s resident prankster and defender, David Luiz.
Luiz wrote, “SUPER FRANK, SUPER FRANK, SUPER FRANK LAMPARD! What u did was magic,amazing and special! Was a pleasure to play with u! God bless u my friend! Enjoy the life! ps: don’t get too fatty ok?”
Rooney also dedicated an Instagram post to his teammate. He wrote, “Great player, teammate, goalscorer and a great friend. Congratulations on a brilliant career, @franklampard.”
Lampard has hinted that he may consider a coaching career post-retirement, a move that is common among retired players. He could take on an advisory role at Chelsea, or work in youth development.
“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,” he concluded in his Instagram post.