Claudio Ranieri’s message to Chelsea fans ahead of Frank Lampard return

Manchester City’s Frank Lampard is to make his first return to Stamford Bridge this weekend since leaving the club.

Former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri has urged supporters to welcome Frank Lampard with open arms on his return to Stamford Bridge this weekend, the Daily Star reports.

The former England international midfielder is widely regarded as a legend in West London, yet he ended a 13-year affiliation with the Blues last summer as he opted to move to New York City on a free transfer.

Due to certain circumstances in the MLS season, the 36-year-old made a swift return to the Premier League on loan, controversially joining the Blues’ main title rivals Manchester City.

If that wasn’t provocative enough, Lampard came off the bench during the clash at the Etihad stadium and denied Jose Mourinho’s men a vital win by netting a late equaliser.

Lots has been made ahead of his return to the Bridge on Saturday given the importance of the clash, but Ranieri is urging the Blues’ crowd not to forget what the midfielder has done for the club.

"I hope that the Chelsea fans welcome him back to Stamford Bridge," Ranieri was quoted as saying by the Daily Star.

"He did great things for Chelsea. He deserves a good welcome from the fans for all the years he played for them and all the trophies he won and the goals he scored."

Lampard scored 211 goals for the Blues in all competitions over a 13-year period and helped the club win three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the Champions League in 2012.

Ranieri was the man who brought him to West London, signing him from fellow London-based club West Ham United, and the Italian remarks that to this day he is among his greatest ever transfers.

"Frank is an amazing player - I was so happy to sign him for Chelsea, and very proud. If you look at his career his scoring record is fantastic. He is like a striker, he is that good,” he added.

"To me he is one of the best ever English midfielders. He has everything, he is a great passer of the ball, he has a good shot, he is good in the air, and he has a great football brain.

"He is definitely one of the best signings I have ever made as a coach.”

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