Chelsea’s all-time record goalscorer Frank Lampard announced on Monday he was leaving the Londoners after a 13-year spell with the Stamford Bridge club.
The England World Cup midfielder, who joined the Premier League club from London rivals West Ham United in 2001 for a fee of 11 million pounds ($18.43 million), scored 209 goals in all competitions for Chelsea.
“Whatever the next challenge is for me I will always be amongst you and have Chelsea in my heart,” Lampard told the club’s fans in a statement.
“Hopefully I will get to see you all soon to say goodbye properly. In the meantime thank you for the memories and keep making history.”
Lampard, who turns 36 on June 20 and will be England’s vice-captain at the World Cup in Brazil, has been linked with a move to new Major League Soccer franchise New York City.
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The New York club announced earlier on Monday that Spain World Cup forward David Villa had signed on a three-year deal from Atletico Madrid.
Lampard won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, the Europa League and the Champions League with Chelsea.
“When I arrived at this fantastic club 13 years ago I would never have believed that I would be fortunate enough to play so many games and enjoy sharing in so much success,” he said. “This club has become part of my life and I have so many people to thank for the opportunity. Firstly (former chairman) Ken Bates, who put his neck on the line to sign me as a young player and without him I would not have even begun this experience.”
Villa signs with NYC
David Villa of Spain has signed a three-year contract with New York City FC, becoming the first player on the expansion Major League Soccer team that starts play next season. “Throughout my career, I’ve always tried to keep pushing myself to achieve new targets, and this represents another important goal for me,” Villa said in a statement. “I want to try and help MLS continue to grow, through playing, working hard, scoring goals and at the same time try to make New York City FC become the best team in the league.”