Frank Lampard has announced his retirement from football and in doing so brings to an end a glittering playing career spanning two decades. The former Chelsea and West Ham United midfielder represented England over 100 times and won the Premier League, Champions League and Europa League during his time at Stamford Bridge.
Lampard broke the announcement on Instagram and believes it is 'the right time' to retire, despite receiving 'a number of exciting offers' to prolong his playing years. The 38-year-old, who left MLS outfit New York City FC in November last year, expressed his gratitude to an array of people in a lengthy social media post and is now turning his attention to earning his coaching badges.
"After 21 incredible years, I have decided that now is the right time to finish my career as a professional footballer," wrote Lampard. "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.
"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."
Lampard also paid tribute to West Ham for giving him his professional debut and spoke of his appreciation for Manchester City and New York City FC supporters, but says "the largest part of my heart belongs to Chelsea".
"I will never forget the opportunity they (Chelsea) 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."