Frank Lampard is one of the best football players to have ever come out of England. Not only was he a part of the fabled “Golden Generation” of English football players, but he also had a highly successful career with Barclays Premier League titans Chelsea FC. Currently, he is also the General Manager of Chelsea FC but the club is undergoing one of its worst spells in recent history and Lampard’s job might be on the line. In this post, we will take a look at some of the greatest moments of his career and what happened to him and other members of England’s Golden Generation. Let’s get started.
Frank Lampard: The Midfield Star Of England’s “Golden Generation”
Summing up Frank Lampard’s career with numbers would be far too simplistic. And it would make for a very boring read.
So why don’t we get started with five of the most remarkable moments of his career:
1994, a 17 year old Frank Lampard signs professionally with West Ham
The midfielder had been swimming in the ocean of the English championship since he was very young. His father, Frank Lampard Sr., a former player for West London club West Ham and assistant coach at the time, signed the junior to the pros at 17. Frank Lampard was then trained by Harry Redknapp, his uncle. But to harden up, the young Lampard was loaned in the wake of a year to Swansea, in the British third division, where he played his first professional match. No sparks at this time, he participated in nine league games, scoring one goal.
1996-1997, the first sniff of the Premier League, then a desire to stop football
Frank Lampard waited until he was 19 to appear in West Ham’s eleven for the first time in the league. He then embarked on a season filled with regular performances but was cut short by a broken leg on March 15, 1997. Booed by the West Ham fans, he even threatened to quit football , at the age of 20. “I had the idea of completely stopping football. I’d rather work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with my friends than to be whistled by 30,000 people every week,” he declared, furious.
Then came November 19th when, in the fourth round of the League Cup against Walsall, Frank Lampard scored the first hat-trick of his career. Harry Redknapp, his uncle, and coach at the time, was proud of him: “I never doubted Frank (Lampard), this hat-trick is a great reward for him”.
2008, the first Champions League final, and the first goal
The British midfielder had been playing since 2001 on the banks of the Thames, with the Blues, which he joined for €15 million. In 2008, he played his first Champions League final against Manchester United, managed by Sir Alex Ferguson and led by Cristiano Ronaldo. Sparkling, he scored Chelsea’s only goal in the final (1-1) and even missed the double because of a capricious crossbar. But the Blues finally lost the title on penalties.
2012, European revenge and a record season
At the end of his 11th season with the London club, Frank Lampard, captain of the Blues, took his team to the Champions League final in Munich against Bayern Munich. But the British midfielder was not overwhelmed by the challenge and Chelsea won the final crown on penalties (1-1 full time). Frank Lampard, a solid captain, led with his stellar play, and let Didier Drogba sound the death knell for German hopes. This victory punctuated an exceptional season from the English No. 8. Despite a disappointing sixth place in the league, Chelsea grabbed the Champions League and the FA Cup. Frank Lampard ended the season with 10 goals and 16 assists. Above all, he became the first player to have scored at least 10 goals in nine consecutive Premier League seasons.
2013, Chelsea folklore
May 11, 2013. Chelsea won with difficulty against Aston Villa (2-1), Frank Lampard responded twice to the goal of Belgian Christian Benteke. His first goal was a marvel, the celebration was even more beautiful. Thanks to his double, the English midfielder had become the top scorer in the history of Chelsea. He scored his 202nd and 203rd goals for the club, dusting off Bobby Tambling’s record (202 goals), standing from the 1960s. Frank Lampard enshrined his name into the annals of Chelsea’s history books. He went on to score more goals and finished with 211 goals for Chelsea.
What was the controversy associated with Frank Lampard’s 2010 World Cup goal?
The 2010 World Cup took place for the first time in Africa, in South Africa. Although the Bafana Bafana gave the world a flying start, they became the first hosts not to advance from the group stage in the World Cup. The favorite teams were Spain, Brazil (as always), and the Netherlands. Other teams like Argentina and Portugal always attract the attention of the public because of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Italy, the reigning 2006 World Cup champions didn’t have high hopes because of an aging squad. This World Cup became infamous for the vuvuzelas that buzzed through the stadiums from the start of the first match until the last minute of overtime in the final.
During the round of 16, a game between Germany and England resulted in more than just a result and a place in the round of 16. Frank Lampard, a prolific playmaker for Chelsea FC, put in a shot that bounced off the goal’s crossbar, entered the goal, but ricocheted downfield or the keeper restored the ball before the referee could see what happened.
After the game, this referee said that the kick was so fast that he couldn’t see exactly if it was a goal. If the goal counted for the England team, the score would have been tied: 2-2. But in fact, the Germans ended up winning 4-1. It’s rare for a team to complain on behalf of the opposing team, even though they know there were times when the match was not decided by the players’ play.
In that case, the Germans believed that this decision was the reward for the 1966 World Cup. The final of this cup was between these two teams, and England won their first (and only to date) World Cup. But, a Geoff Hurst shot almost exactly like Lampard’s broke England’s stalemate with Germany (which at the time was West Germany). But, unfortunately for Germany, the ball did not cross the goal line.
Lampard’s disallowed goal reignited the debate over the idea of using cameras in World Cup matches, specifically around goals. FIFA, and many people who love football were opposed to this idea because they saw the use of technology in football as something that will slow down matches. But after Lampard, there was no one who believed that. Right after that changes came to football, and now goal line cameras are used frequently. There are moments in matches that can change history for a country, and there are goals that have the power to do the same. The only thing that can change an entire sport is a decision, or lack thereof, by the referee, and the subsequent public outcry.
What happened to Frank Lampard and other members of England’s “Golden Generation”?
The Three Lions’ third most capped player (115 caps, behind Peter Shilton and Wayne Rooney) was captain for four years. Selected in 1996, David Beckham was long hated for his red card received in 1998 during the round of 16 of the World Cup loss against Argentina. His winning free kick which qualified England for the 2002 World Cup in the playoffs against Greece (2-2) rehabilitated him.
For a long time, the United Kingdom believed that Beckham would be the man who would bring back a title to the Three Lions. But he never succeeded, despite his club’s successes with Manchester United and Real Madrid. A serious injury deprived him of the 2010 World Cup which was to be his last major meeting with the team. The footballer-star ended his career at the Los Angeles Galaxy and freelanced for a few months at AC Milan and PSG to finish in 2013. As good as David Beckham, his off pitch popularity and stardom ended up overshadowing his performances.
“Calamity James “, as he was nicknamed. At 34, the Manchester City goalkeeper had finally been promoted to England’s number one goalkeeper, after David Seaman’s retirement from the 2002 World Cup. Capable of the best and the worst, James did not stay long at his post. Paul Robinson took his place after Euro 2004. For years, the English selection was looking for a reliable goalkeeper. Until the rise of Joe Hart after the 2010 World Cup, coaches Sven-Göran Eriksson, Steve McLaren and Fabio Capello tried Paul Robinson, David James, Robert Green, Scott Carson, Ian Walker, and Ben Foster.
The iconic Manchester United right-back was, at 29, already part of the England team in 2004. He remained in selection until 2007 and retired in 2011. His record remained empty with the Three Lions but he retired on several titles with the Red Devils. Reconverted coach, he was an assistant in the staff of England between 2012 and 2014 before having his first experience as a head coach for Valencia. The adventure turned into a fiasco: in March 2016, after only four calamitous months, Neville was sacked. A snag that he still drags like a ball and chain.
The defensive rock of Arsenal ended his international career in 2007. On paper, the hinge he formed with England with John Terry or Rio Ferdinand was one of the strongest in the world. Too bad for them, the results did not follow. Campbell, who moved from Tottenham to rival Gunners in 2001 stood out with a goal in the 2006 Champions League final lost to Barcelona (2-1). He then played at Portsmouth, Notts County, then returned for free at Arsenal before ending his career at Newcastle in 2011.
He was one of the best central defenders in the world for several years. Unfortunately, Rio Ferdinand missed Euro 2004, which was to be an important event in his career, due to a suspension for a doping control violation. Called up for selection in 1997, he had his 81st and last cap in 2011. At Manchester United from 2002 to 2014, Ferdinand scored little despite his aerial skills. In defense, on the other hand, he was the boss. His club record can attest to that.
2004 was a pivotal year for the defender. Taking advantage of the suspension of Rio Ferdinand, he distinguished himself during the Euro in Portugal. And at Chelsea, especially after the arrival of José Mourinho, John Terry became one of the best in the world in his position. His heading game continued to wreak havoc, even if in 2017, at almost 37 years old, the central defender hardly played (retiring in 2018). In the twilight of his career, Terry could boast a huge record in 21 seasons and more than 680 appearances at Chelsea.
With England, the story was more complicated. Promoted to captain in 2006, the armband was taken away from him when the tabloids revealed his affair with Wayne Bridge’s ex-wife. Moreover, Bridge retired internationally after this case, embarrassing the then-coach, Fabio Capello. John Terry has also caused a few scandals for fights off the pitch. In 2012, he was also in the crosshairs of justice for racist remarks made against Anton Ferdinand, Rio Ferdinand’s brother.
In 2004, Ashley Cole was recognized as one of the best right backs in the world (still considered to be one of the best of all time). He is one of the symbols of the conquering Arsenal team of the first half of the 2000s. At 21, he had also taken a lead in the England team, first on the left, then on the right. His Euro 2004 was excellent and he continued his momentum in the club. His departure to Chelsea in 2006 was seen as a betrayal by Arsenal fans. He would be a pillar until his departure in 2014. The Englishman then joined AS Roma where success was difficult to come. At 36, he ended his career in MLS, playing for Los Angeles Galaxy, the former club of David Beckham.
Manchester United’s handyman retired from international duty at the end of Euro 2004, when he wasn’t even 30. It was a massive regret for the fans of this amazing player who still had a lot under his feet. Less comfortable with England, Paul Scholes had a leading role in Manchester United’s domination of the late 1990s (with the historic treble in 1999: Premier League, Cup and Champions League). Winner of two Champions Leagues in four finals, Scholes retired for the first time in 2011 before returning for a final high-quality season in 2012-2013. His club success is matched only by his frustrating failures with the national team.
Undoubtedly the greatest Liverpool FC player to ever play, Steven Gerrard was an absolute icon of Anfield. Steven Gerrard ended his career in 2016 with a freelance job at the Los Angeles Galaxy, but before that, he spent his whole life in Liverpool, from his entry into the academy of the Reds in 1989 to his departure in 2015.
The man with more than 700 games in the red jersey was the brave captain of the heroic 2005 Champions League final won in Istanbul against AC Milan (3-3, 5-4 on penalties). It was he who scored the first goal for his team, the author of a crazy comeback in a few minutes as Milan led 3-0 after 45 minutes of play. Gerrard’s huge long range strikes were known to drive goalkeepers crazy. Unfortunately, this talent failed to translate with the English national team and he never garnered any silverware. Quite surprisingly, Steven Gerrard never won the Premier League title in his career as well.
Without his injury prone body, the 2001 Ballon d’Or winner would undoubtedly have had an even more brilliant career. In 2004, Michael Owen left Liverpool to become Real Madrid’s new Galactico. But despite his performances, he failed to dislodge Ronaldo and Raul from their starting places and he slipped away after a year at Newcastle. Regularly injured, Owen never found his level before his injuries, whether with the Magpies or with the selection on which he drew a line in 2008. His three-year stint at Manchester United (2009-2012) did not allow him to bounce back. He ended up in relative anonymity at Stoke City in 2013. Michael Owen, the last English Ballon d’Or winner, is perhaps the biggest case of “what could’ve been”.
The legendary striker was barely 18 years old when he dazzled Europe during the Euro in Portugal. At 31 today, Wayne Rooney is England’s all-time top scorer (53 goals, current streak), Manchester United’s all-time top scorer (250 goals, current streak) and England’s second most capped player (119 caps, behind record holder Peter Shilton’s 125).
He also has won five championships, a Champions League, a Club World Cup, several national cups, and countless individual awards including fifth place in the 2011 Ballon d’Or. In short: Wayne Rooney is one of the greatest players of the 21st century. Sometimes, he could be an impulsive bad boy (he was expelled in the quarter-finals of the 2006 World Cup against Portugal 0-0 3 pens to 1 after crushing Ricardo Carvalho’s testicles with his crampons in contact), but often decisive, the striker shone at Manchester United. He retired from international football in 2018 after the World Cup in Russia. It was his last opportunity to win something with England and become the messiah of a squad that hadn’t won a major international title since 1966.
While Frank Lampard was imperious with Chelsea, he did not really translate that success with the England team. His biggest highlight is probably the potential equalizer in the round of 16 of the 2010 World Cup against Germany (final defeat 4- 1). Top scorer in the history of Chelsea (211 goals), Lampard was the soul of the Blues for 13 years.
He was at the heart of this club which entered the big leagues of Europe when it was bought by Roman Abramovich in 2003. His greatest success will undoubtedly remain his coronation in 2012 in the Champions League in Munich against Bayern (1-1, 4-3 on penalties). Frank Lampard then played for a year at Manchester City: scoring against Chelsea, he did not celebrate his achievement and was given a standing ovation by his former supporters who were still under the spell. Frank Lampard ended his career with a season at New York City FC.
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