London – Frank Lampard's departure from Chelsea at the end of the season now appears certain.
Lampard's agent Steve Kutner has told British media that Chelsea has no intention of offering the veteran midfielder a new contract when his current deal expires at the end of the season.
“Chelsea executives told Frank in Japan during the Club World Cup, then again reconfirmed with me after the Everton victory (on Dec. 30) that in no circumstances will he be offered a new contract to stay at the club after the end of this season,” Kutner was quoted Sunday as saying by the Daily Mirror newspaper. “Nothing since has changed in any respect.”
On Friday, Chelsea captain John Terry said he was “devastated” by Lampard's looming exit and called for his teammate's No. 8 shirt number to be retired. Now the 34-year-old England international must prepare to find a new club.
“Frank has had to accept that and just wants to carry on playing football for Chelsea so as to finish the season as successfully as possible for the club that he loves,” Kutner said in quotes printed by the Daily Mirror and Daily Telegraph.
Lampard became Chelsea's joint second all-time leading scorer on Saturday by scoring his seventh goal of the season in Saturday's 5-1 thrashing of Southampton in the FA Cup.
He moved to 193 goals, equaling Kerry Dixon's haul, with only Bobby Tambling's record of 202 the target to beat before his 12-year stay at Chelsea ends.
“This club has been amazing to me and the club is the fans, so I can only thank them,” Lampard said after scoring a penalty on Saturday. “I am enjoying my football.” – Sapa-AP