Double high five - one for the goal, one for the tan! Also, I cropped out his rolled-waist (!!) shorts to protect the innocent.
Frank Lampard had plenty of media attention last season, getting every public moment of his relationship with Andre Villas-Boas examined in minute detail. Not that I'm blaming the media in this case: both player & manager seemed eager to be as...frank...as possible about Frank's playing time, playing style, contract - favorite book, choice of toothpaste, and most formative childhood experience - at every given opportunity.
Then the mean wizard of Portugal was slain in non-glorious combat in Italy and Robbie D rode in to save the day all shiny and bald-headed. He quickly pulled the shards of kryptonite out of SuperFrank, picking him a lot more regularly and in all the right situations, and they all lived happily ever after. Or did they?
That's right; it's Frank Lampard contract-talks time!
To recap: Lampard's contract runs out next summer. He is 4th all-time in appearances. He is 3rd in scoring, 7 short of Kerry Dixon in 2nd and just 16 short of Bobby Tambling's 202 total. He has been linked with the MLS & China in the recent past. All quotes from The Telegraph although they've been picked up by most everybody else as well.
I’m ready to sit down and talk to Chelsea whenever they want to but it’s not the same as when you are 25. Then they come to you or you knock the door down with a couple of years to go to extend it. When you get into your 30s you accept it’s not that way any more.
At least you don't have to keep paying for new doors, amirite?
Perhaps a public display of commitment to the team cause could help? Fewer minutes, while perhaps mentoring the youngsters on timing runs from deep and on how to score penalties consistently?
Chelsea will always be my club regardless of what happens now in terms of my playing days. I’d love to be able to offer the hand of experience and just be a presence there. But, in playing terms, I do need to feel I can do it. I wouldn’t be fulfilled if I wasn’t.
Uh-Oh. Well then. (But would you come back to cut the grass?)
To be fair, this is just the same ol' mantra of 'Frank wants to play'. (That's all he wants to do! Why do you not want Frank to play? Can't you see that's all he wants to do? Why won't you make Frank happy? He just wants to play! Plaaaaay!)
And it’s not a problem. In an ideal world I’d finish here and keep giving what I have given over the past 10 years. I wouldn’t want to fade away as a player and be here without performing or producing too much for the club. I want to always be at a level I know I can play at and give a lot when I play.
Oh. So it's not a problem? Cool! Cool cool cool.
But just in case, here's my ideal scenario: Lampard plays 36+ matches next season to take over 3rd place on the all-time appearances list (1st & 2nd are well out of reach). He scores 17 goals, often coming on as a sub just purely to slam home a penalty kick. Chelsea repeat as Champions League winners with Frank scoring the winning goal/penalty kick. He retires to the LA Galaxy / Shanghai Shenhua. Few years on, comes back as part of Frankie & The Drog Landscapers. If needed, the first two portions of this scenario can be extended over two seasons' worth of matches by singing Lampard to a 1-year extension next summer. You're welcome, Ron Gourlay!