Frank Lampard gained legendary status in his time at Chelsea and many of the faithful who followed the England midfielder’s career have mixed feelings about him joining New York City.
Chelsea fans are happy that he will still be playing at a high level but sad that such a devoted player has moved on.
Although 36, he was still good enough to make the England squad at the World Cup.
Lampard signed for the Major League Soccer outfit on a two-year deal this week after being released by the Blues in May, 13 glorious years after arriving at Stamford Bridge.
When Lampard moved from West Ham to Chelsea for $14 million there were doubts over his value for money. That notion was quickly dispelled as he turned in brilliant performances week after week and became the club’s leading scorer with 211 goals in his 649 appearances.
Lampard was hoping to stay in some capacity at Chelsea, possibly as a fringe player and youth coach, but the offer did not come.
Nevertheless, he said he is happy to move to the Big Apple and is expected to return to Stamford Bridge eventually as a coach and eventual manager.
“New York ticks all the right boxes for me. It’s very exciting,” said Lampard.
“Chelsea will always have a huge place in my heart, but it’s now a new challenge.”
At least he will get plenty of time to settle in as newly-formed New York City will play their first MLS season in 2015.
The franchise, which is owned by Manchester City, is currently building its squad and have already signed ex-Spain striker David Villa from La Liga winners Atletico Madrid.