Lampard: Respect for MLS growing
Frank Lampard believes the lure of playing in America's Major League Soccer is growing among the game's top stars, after he was confirmed as the latest marquee capture for New York City.
The new MLS franchise added Chelsea legend Lampard to a squad that already includes former Spain and Barcelona striker David Villa, with the England international convinced his move would be a source of envy among many of his former teammates.
"The respect for the MLS has gone up around the world. That's what makes this such a great challenge for me," said Lampard, who has signed a two-year contract with New York City.
"I know that other players are interested in playing out here now. That may not have been the case five years ago. A few people may be envious of this decision I have made as this is a great place to play your soccer."
Chelsea sent a congratulatory tweet.
Wishing Frank Lampard the very best of luck in New York! #SuperFrank- Chelsea FC (@chelseafc) July 24, 2014
"We talk about what I would do after leaving Chelsea and this ticked all the boxes," Lampard said. "It is a very, very exciting challenge for me in life terms. I had a very happy 13 years at Chelsea and look back at that with great pride, but it was the right time to move on.
"Having spoken to the people at this new club, I could see a real long-term plan and I want to test myself and challenge myself and I want to be a leader.
"When the opportunity of New York came up, I wanted to show people that I can be a big personality in the dressing room and this club."
Lampard went on to suggest the respect for American soccer is growing following the fine efforts of Jurgen Klinsmann's U.S. team at this summer's World Cup finals (where they reached the round of 16), as he spoke about his excitement at the prospect of playing for his new club at Yankee Stadium.
"I'm looking forward to playing in the Yankee Stadium," he continued. "I've been speaking to my players and when you say you are playing in the Yankees' stadium, they fall over and can't believe it. What a chance to play at such an iconic stadium and this is a great country to play football or soccer in at this moment.
"We only have to look at what the USA did at the World Cup and the imprint they left on the world. You should be very proud of the way you played, the character shown and the quality. I'm delighted to come to America at this point."
The 36-year-old midfielder went on to offer up warm words of support for his former club Chelsea, as he wished Cesc Fabregas well as the Spanish midfielder tries to fill the void left by his departure.
Lampard also confirmed he has yet to decide whether he will call time on his England career following a disappointing World Cup campaign.
"What I have achieved at Chelsea will never change and I've very proud of that, but this is a new chapter at Chelsea in many ways with new players," added Lampard, who confirmed he has yet to decide whether to call time on his England international career.
"As for Cesc [Fabregas]. We've had a few battles down the years as you would expect, but I'd hate to put too much pressure. He has his own qualities and I have mine. I wish him every success and I wish Chelsea every success. The club will always have a huge place in my heart."