Soccer

Frank Lampard returns to Chelsea as Maurizio Sarri's successor

AFP-JIJI

Frank Lampard was appointed Chelsea head coach on Thursday, confirming a dramatic return for one of the club’s greatest ever players.

Lampard has signed a three-year contract with Chelsea, where he spent 13 years and became the team’s all-time leading scorer with 211 goals.

The former England midfielder succeeds Maurizio Sarri after just one season in management, having led Derby County to the Championship play-off final in May, when it lost to Aston Villa.

“I am immensely proud to be returning to Chelsea as head coach,” Lampard said in a club statement.

“Everyone knows my love for this club and the history we have shared, however, my sole focus is on the job in hand and preparing for the season ahead.

“I am here to work hard, bring further success to the club and I cannot wait to get started.”

Chelsea said Lampard has a “fantastic relationship” with the club’s supporters and he will certainly lift the mood after a fractious season under Sarri.

Despite finishing third in the Premier League and winning the Europa League, Sarri was criticized for his eccentric approach and rigid style of play.

Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia said: “It gives us great pleasure to welcome Frank back to Chelsea as head coach.

“Frank possesses fantastic knowledge and understanding of the club and last season, he demonstrated he is one of the most talented young coaches in the game.

“After 13 years with us as a player, where he became a club legend and our record goalscorer, we believe this is the perfect time for him to return and are delighted he has done so.

“We will do everything we can to ensure he has all the support required to be a huge success.”