sport

Ballack: Lampard a legend

Michael Ballack says Frank Lampard leaves Chelsea as a "legend" with nothing left to achieve.

Lampard confirmed on Monday evening that he would be moving on after 13 years at the club.

The England midfielder has not revealed his next move but it is understood he has already held informal talks with New York City FC, the newly-formed MLS side part-owned by Manchester City.

Ballack spent four years with Lampard at Stamford Bridge and paid tribute to a Blues career that has yielded three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, the Europa League and the Champions League.

"He's now at an age where he can be more relaxed; he's achieved everything with Chelsea," Ballack, speaking shortly before Lampard's announcement, said. "He's a legend there - and also for England.

"He's in a good position. He should think about what he wants; does he want success in sport still, to play at the highest level? Or does he want to enjoy life?

"I think he'll have a lot of offers. He's experienced enough to make the right decision."

Ballack tipped the Londoner, who turns 36 later this month, to one day return to Chelsea as a member of the coaching staff.

"He'll always be welcome at Chelsea," Ballack, speaking at a film screening of 'The Game Before The Game', added.

"Maybe it's not bad if he plays a few years somewhere else and gains influences from outside England - but I think there will always be a place at Chelsea for him in the future."

James Milner, who is with Lampard in Miami preparing for England's World Cup bid, is convinced the veteran will continue to impress wherever his next stop proves to be.

Milner said: "He's not finished yet. He's still got that quality and still has the goals, so I am sure he'll have plenty of offers and he will choose what is right.

"Players have ups and downs in their career, but every season he delivers and the example is set for the younger players coming in.

"Since I've been in the England squad he's been a top player, a top pro and that's exactly what we need going into a major tournament."