Dear Frank Lampard.
Your decision to retire from from professional football came as a shock to me. Though it was inevitable, but as a fan I made peace with it because I am glad that it happened.
One day back in 2001 as a 10 year old, I found myself cruising through TV channels, I stumbled upon a news that a young and promising lad has joined Chelsea Football Club and his name was Frank Lampard. As soon as I heard the name and saw this huge amount of respect and passion dripping from your face, I was sure of one thing. I have found someone who I want to become, who can be my perfect role model. A true gentleman on and off the pitch. I knew nothing about football then, but I was glued to the TV screens whenever I could see you playing for the blues. It was love at the first sight.
Gradually I started to enjoy the beautiful game and learnt alot about other great players of your generation. I was short of words seeing legendary players like Ronaldo, Zidane, Ronaldinho, Beckham, Owen, Scholes, Giggs, Maldini and many other greats. But watching you step into the box time and again, scoring those close finishes and sublime free kicks, it always felt like coming home. Frank Lampard became a household name at my home and I simply couldn't afford missing any Chelsea or England games. I started to practice and imitate your style of play into my game only to realise my natural tendency is to play like John Terry. But from a defending position making a run into boxes became my habit. Thanks to you sir I happened to score quite a few goals.
As I entered my teen years, you had already conquered the EPL and no man ever inspired me to work hard and improve my skills as you did. I learnt the word consistent, after seeing you day in and day out, putting the exact amount of hard work as the guy who desires to reach the top when you were already at the top. The desire for excellence you showed resonated every second you spent on the pitch. Scoring those beautiful long range goals and free kicks were not just mere fluke, they were hours and hours of practice when everyone went home and nobody was watching.
As the years progressed, listening to utter nonsense of addressing Chelsea's success to rich owner, never made much sense to me because at the heart of the midfield, there was this person who always had the passion of playing football for the sake of doing what he loves instead of playing for money. I learnt that though money is important but loving what you do and doing what you love matters more. Thank you Sir.
I was devastated when Pat Lampard left for her journey to heaven. I celebrated with exhilaration when we won at Munich. For the tears we shed together, we had more reasons to smile. But you carried on, like a rock, unfazed with the criticism of England's failure in top competitions. Everytime you came back stronger than ever. More sharper with your finishes and touches. Playing along the likes of young guns like Mata, Hazard, Oscar, Torres, Silva I often found myself wondering will this person ever cease to amaze. The answer was NO. Running and scoring while playing along side these future greats, I became more resolute and resolved about my personal goals and dreams. Thank you sir for instilling the fire in me, always. But more importantly keeping the fire alive.
A move away from Chelsea to City and NYCFC, happened more like a stopover period. But the craving to see you play and excel in new places and teams and new people, it simply showed how flexible and adaptable you are. Achieving the cult status wherever you went, came so easily because of the person you had become. I coined a quote of my own - "Legends come in all shades of blue".