In a frank revelation the Blues boss admitted he had tried to prize the 35-year-old England midfielder away from Stamford Bridge following the Portuguese boss’ own departure in 2007.
Mourinho remains Chelsea’s most successful manager in the clubs history and, after winning two Premier League titles and the FA Cup in his initial three-year spell, the self-proclaimed special one has admitted he tried to bring one of the club’s best players and most loyal servants to reunite with him, firstly at the San Siro with Inter Milan and then to the Bernabeu with Real Madrid.
However, the boss also revealed that, after offering Lampard the chance to join him, the Blues man kindly declined, preferring instead to remain at Chelsea on both occasions.
Lampard arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2001 and, at 35, one would expect he’ll see out the twilight years of his career there – the club offered him a one-year contract extension after a well documented stalling of negotiations. It looked at one point, towards the end of last term as if the club may not offer to extend his contract, leaving Lampard free to move on this summer.
However, Lampard came out publicly several times to re-iterate his desire to remain a Chelsea player and his commitment to the club and the fans – his cousin Jamie Redknapp had pleaded his case on Sky Sports prior to the club’s decision to keep him, stating that Chelsea would be crazy to let a player of his quality and experience walk away. Frank Lampard’s pride in the badge was never in doubt but the club took its time to offer him an extension.
However, with Mourinho’s revelations on Friday lunchtime that he had attempted to intervene on two occasions, he also revealed that Lampard had insisted he wanted to remain a Chelsea player above all else and, now, as Mourinho explained, the special boss is the direct beneficiary of Lampard’s special decision to stay as the pair are now reunited once more at Stamford Bridge.
image: © Ben Sutherland