nd in converting a 98th-minute penalty to put Chelsea 2-1 ahead in extra time, he ended the night with a moment of personal triumph that was emotionally dedicated to his mother, Chelsea wanted to give the player, who recently turned 30, only four years, but decided to relent to end what has been one of the most p
It has taken a long time to get here but I’m happy that my future at Chelsea has now been sorted and that I will be staying here for the next five years,” Lampard said. “I pride myself on my fitness and on how much effort I put in during training and, for those reasons, feel this could be the best five years of my career.
“I want to win more trophies and certainly feel I can do that here. This is a great club with a great squad and where the morale is as high as I’ve ever experienced. After winning nothing last season all the players really have the bit between their teeth this year. I think we can not only win things domestically but also in Europe.”
He had looked pale and drawn when he took the pitch for the start of the game. Thinner, too. The grief seemed to have taken a physical toll. A player often derided by opposing fans for a tendency to put on weight was now as slender as a blade.
In sport at the top level, we have seen a homologous moment just once in recent years. Back in 2003 the Schumacher brothers arrived at Imola for the San Marino grand prix knowing that their mother was gravely ill. She had lapsed into a coma after suffering severe internal bleeding, and no one would have raised an eyebrow had they decided to take the weekend off in order to stay by her side.
While Lampard had praise for both managers, he credited Ranieri as the key figure in his own career. “It makes me happy to see his Roma flying so high,” said Lampard. “Without Claudio I would probably not have got to the top. He wanted me, he convinced me with his projects, he forged me. I was a young man, a naive West Ham midfielder always throwing myself about.”
Lampard also spoke of Chelsea’s current manager, Carlo Ancelotti, describing him as “like a friend” to his players and crediting his “relaxed” approach and tactical acumen for the team’s success this year. But while such a laid-back manner worked for Chelsea, he noted, the national side had benefited from the more autocratic approach of Fabio Capello.
“He has a very strong personality, and he is very strong on discipline,” said Lampard of the England manager. “Exactly what we neede