Premier League players and managers come and go over the seasons but one thing remains constant. Frank Lampard keeps on scoring goals in the top flight of English football.
Since 1996, Lampard has graced the Premier League every season and his penalty against Fulham Monday marked a remarkable achievement of becoming the first ever midfielder to reach 150 Premier League goals. This record comes despite a whole host of difficulties on and off the field for the England international. Let’s take a brief look back at the road Frank has been on to reach this milestone.
After a successful loan spell at Swansea City, Lampard joined back up with West Ham United and established himself as a first team squad member at the beginning of the 1996/97 season. However, with thirteen games under his belt, Frank (aged 18 at the time) was forced to miss the remainder of the campaign after breaking his leg against Aston Villa.
That only proved to be a minor setback as he came out to net his first of the 150 Premier League goals just months later – the winner against Barnsley in August 1997. After nearly a century and a half of games for his beloved Hammers, Lampard left Upton Park for a big money move to London rivals Chelsea following the sackings of his father Frank Lampard Snr and uncle Harry Redknapp.
His career at Stamford Bridge didn’t start fantastically and the midfielder picked up a red card in just his fourth appearance for the Blues. After fifteen goalless games, Lampard finally found the net in December 2001 as Claudio Ranieri’s men romped to a 5-1 win over Bolton.
Since the 2003/04 season Frank has received plenty of praise for the regularity in which he sticks the ball in the net, with the Londoner now reaching double figures for the season (in all competitions) in each of the last nine campaigns. That included a spell of five seasons in a row where he reached 20 goals culminating in a bumper 27 strikes in the title winning 2009/10 side.
In this time Lampard Jnr has had to deal with a relationship break-up with Spanish model Elen Rivas (pictured above), with whom he has two children. Add to this the premature death of his mother Pat, aged 58, in 2008, the fact that Frank Lampard keeps up his high standards is truly admirable from a West Ham, Chelsea and England great.
Many have questioned whether he can still offer anything to the Chelsea cause, but the way in which he has turned the fortunes of the West Londoners around since Roberto Di Matteo took the helm shows he is still a class act. Long may this form continue, especially heading into Euro 2012!