An exclusive account of Frank Lampard’s greatest battle — and the pressure he faced to win the Champions League

Frank Lampard, the English midfielder who has helped to power Manchester City to the Premier League title this season, was a key member of Chelsea’s successes during the last decade, winning two Premier League titles and two FA Cups with the Blues. In 2013, the 38-year-old, who joined the club from West Ham in 2001, was announced as a player of the year for his role in leading Chelsea to a first league title since 2006. In that year, Lampard helped the Blues to win the Club World Cup.

Below, Lampard shares the story of the time he laid out one of his team’s rivals — possibly “the toughest opponent” he ever faced during his time with Chelsea — in a meeting room at Stamford Bridge.

I’m on the west end of Stamford Bridge in the old afternoon game area. The terraces are open and there’s people watching from there, and those people are proper fans. You walk in and there’s 60,000 people there. They’re all looking forward to the game. Chelsea have the ball. At the time, it was a 3-2 game — and the first game had gone to extra time. This is after 90 minutes of the game. The crowd’s going, the atmosphere is absolutely incredible. We’re just sitting there thinking, we’re up against it here. We know we’re against it. Then the ball goes out right on to the touchline and you see this Bayern player — the shadow of him is over the back of our goal, he’s come in to take an aerial ball. It was another cross — I think it was a corner — and there’s a Bayern player chasing it into the box. Then he’s offsides. So it’s our first chance of the game. And someone thinks, as we all do at some stage, I wish I was somewhere else. The next thing we know, our game is over. Three minutes to go. Penalty.

“The penalty” is used to refer to Lampard scoring from the spot to put the Blues ahead in the 1999 FA Cup final against Aston Villa.

Lampard was honored for his achievements last month, as the players received their awards at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony. Chelsea won the Barclays Premier League this season, and Lampard is the most-capped Chelsea player in history.


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