It seems hard to believe now, but there were many who felt West Ham had got the better end of the deal after selling Frank Lampard to Chelsea for £11m in 2001.
Securing Chelsea’s first Premier League title – 2005
Roman Abramovich’s millions changed the landscape of English football forever, with Chelsea emerging as real contenders in the Premier League.
In Jose Mourinho’s first season at the club, Chelsea marched to the Premier League title, losing just once all season. Having waited 50 years for a league title, Chelsea’s long wait ended at Bolton’s Reebok Stadium in April 2005. Lampard scored both goals in a 2-0 victory, the second a brilliant counter-attacking goal, sparking wild celebrations amongst the Blues’ supporters. Lampard had been crowned Chelsea Premier League champion for the first time.
Footballer of the Year – 2005
Lampard’s contribution to Chelsea’s title-winning campaign saw him recognised for the game’s biggest individual awards, the midfielder being crowned as the FWA Footballer of the Year in 2005.
Having scored 13 goals and provided a further 18 assists, few had played a more important role in Chelsea’s title triumph, with the award recognition for a superb season. Lampard’s performances also saw him named as the Premier League Player of the Season and PFA Fans’ Player of the Year, whilst he also finished runner-up to Ronaldinho in both the World Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or vote later that year.
Barcelona wonder goal – 2006
Chelsea met holders Barcelona in the Champions League group stage in 2006, with Lampard scoring an audacious effort in an ill-tempered 2-2 draw at the Nou Camp. Having established himself as a leading light in the Premier League, Lampard’s wonder goal announced him as one of Europe’s elite midfielders. Having been driven wide after he miscontrolled a Claude Makelele pass, Lampard pivoted from almost the touchline and executed a deft chip over Victor Valdes to bring Chelsea level.
It had seemed a seemingly impossible angle from which to score, a demonstration of Lampard’s undoubted quality.
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Champions League glory – 2012
After a series of near misses, including a painful penalty shoot-out defeat to Manchester United in Moscow in the 2008 final in which Lampard scored, Chelsea surprisingly advanced to a second Champions League final four years later.
Facing German giants Bayern Munich in their own home ground the Allianz Arena was a daunting proposition, and when Thomas Muller opened the scoring for Bayern with less than eight minutes remaining, Chelsea’s hopes looked over. Chelsea, captained by Lampard in the absence of the suspended John Terry, pushed for an equalizer. Didier Drogba’s late header sent the game into extra-time, and after Petr Cech saved a penalty from former Blues star Arjen Robben in the extra period, the final went to penalties. Juan Mata missed Chelsea’s first spot-kick and another shoot-out defeat loomed. Lampard converted his kick, and after Cech saved from Ivica Olic and Bastian Schweinsteiger, Drogba had the chance to seal the trophy. The Ivorian calmly rolled his kick home, as Chelsea became the first London side to win Europe’s biggest prize.
Breaking Chelsea’s all-time scoring record – 2013
The fourth-highest goalscorer in Premier League history, Lampard’s record from midfield is unlikely to be matched. A fine finisher blessed with a knack of arriving in the box at the right time, the midfielder scored prolifically throughout his Stamford Bridge career.
In May 2013, Lampard was rewarded for his remarkable consistency as he became the greatest goal scorer in the club’s long history, a double against Aston Villa taking him past Bobby Tambling’s record of 202 Chelsea goals. He eventually left Chelsea the following year, his legacy assured having scored 211 goals in 648 appearances for the club.