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Frank Lampard retires: Chelsea legend's sensational career in numbers

Frank Lampard has announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 38, calling time on a stellar 20-year career that established him as a Premier League legend and arguably the greatest player in Chelsea's history.

Sometimes even top footballers can be damned by their statistics but, as the numbers provided by Opta show, Lampard's staggering career numbers only serve to underline his greatness.

With 177 goals he sits fourth in the Premier League's all-time scoring charts, behind only Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney and Andy Cole. To put that in context, the next highest-scoring midfielder is Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard in 16th.

Key to Lampard scaling such heights was his longevity; only Ryan Giggs (632) and Gareth Barry (615) have made more Premier League appearances than Lampard's 609. Of those, 429 came during a 13-year spell at Chelsea; only five players have ever made more appearances in the competition for a single club.

Lampard scored 147 of his Premier League goals for Chelsea and 211 in all competitions for the Blues, making him the club's all-time top scorer.

The consistency of his scoring was every bit as impressive as the volume; he netted at least 10 times in 10 successive league campaigns from 2003-04 to 2012-13, his penultimate season at Stamford Bridge.

Lampard scored all different types of goals -- among them a Premier League record 41 from outside the box and 43 from the penalty spot (a tally only bettered by Shearer). He also got them against a wide range of opponents; 39 different teams in fact, the most in competition history.

His favourite victims were Aston Villa (13 Premier League goals), the team against whom he scored four goals in March 2010 and netted twice more to surpass Bobby Tambling as Chelsea's all-time top scorer in May 2013.

Even as he aged, Lampard never lost his scoring touch. He found the net in his final Premier League appearance for Manchester City in May 2015 and, despite being hampered by injuries, still managed to score 15 times in 31 matches during the final two years of his career at New York City FC.

Lampard's international career was very underwhelming in comparison to his Premier League achievements, and it is particularly remarkable that he failed to score in 10 appearances for England across three World Cups.

Yet his overall tally of 29 goals is respectable and, with 106 caps, he is tied for seventh with Sir Bobby Charlton on England's appearance rankings. Nine of those strikes came from the penalty spot; no other Three Lions player has scored as many.

Lampard's claim to be regarded as the greatest goalscoring midfielder of his generation is very compelling, but excelling at football's most glamorous art was not the limit of his greatness.

Like any elite attacking midfielder, Lampard also created a remarkable number of goals for teammates. His tally of 102 assists is bettered only by Giggs in Premier League history, and he is one of just three men (along with Giggs and Rooney) to have reached a century of both goals and assists in the competition.

Lampard's best season for assists was in Chelsea's 2004-05 title-winning campaign. He directly created 18 goals, the third highest total for a single season in Premier League history behind Thierry Henry (20 in 2002-03) and Mesut Ozil (19 in 2015-16).

Chelsea supporters regularly remark on the formidable understanding between Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa, but the pair still have some way to go to match the chemistry Lampard enjoyed with Didier Drogba; he set the Ivorian up for 24 Premier League goals, more than any other combination in the competition.

Football never stops and some of Lampard's remarkable numbers will no doubt be surpassed by current or future stars. Many more will stand the test of time, cementing his legacy as a true legend at Stamford Bridge and far beyond.

Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.


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