Benitez: Lampard is 'fantastic'

Rafael Benitez insists Frank Lampard is not being discarded by Chelsea because he is past his best.

Last Updated: 14/12/12 at 17:36 Post Comment

Latest Articles

Transfer news: Michu will not be recalled to Swansea this season, says Garry Monk

Post comment

Garry Monk will not recall striker Michu to Swansea when Wilfried Bony goes to play in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Scottish Premiership: Celtic captain Scott Brown signs new contract which runs until 2018

Post comment

Celtic have announced captain Scott Brown has signed a new contract with the Scottish champions.

All Articles

Frank Lampard: 'A great professional

Frank Lampard: 'A great professional

Interim manager Benitez claimed the Stamford Bridge decision-makers who have halted contract talks with the England midfielder had no doubt about "his condition, his levels, his quality".

Benitez suggested owner Roman Abramovich and the board were analysing "different things", but did not go into more detail.

It is only possible to speculate what they might be but one could be the fact that Lampard is one of the highest earners at the club during an era of Financial Fair Play.

His age, 34, and recent injury record might also come into it but Benitez told BBC Sport: "For sure, he's a fantastic player, a great professional - there's no doubt about this.

"Also, when I talk to the people in charge, they are telling me the same, so nobody has any doubt about his condition, his levels, his quality.

"So the decision could be analysing different things, not just the quality of the player."

Lampard insisted he had "two or three years at least" left to give as an elite footballer - even if Chelsea appeared to think otherwise.

He admitted on Thursday his glittering career with the European champions could be drawing to a close after revealing he was not in talks with them over a new contract to replace the one that expires next summer.

Lampard appeared resigned to his fate after helping Chelsea into the Club World Cup final in Yokohama, coming off the bench against Monterrey for his second appearance since recovering from a troublesome calf problem.

That compounded an injury-hit 2012 but Lampard made it clear he had more to give.

"I feel like I have two or three years, at least, in me at the top level," he said.

"It is not for me to decide on this one. It's up to the club.

"Whatever happens, I have had a great time at Chelsea. I am determined to play a few more years and see what pans out in the near future."

Lampard, whose 11 years' service at Chelsea and third place in the club's all-time list of scorers has seen him become an heroic figure there, added: "There have been no talks about anything about an extension.

"Maybe things don't last forever. Although I want it to last forever, you have to be big enough to know what it is."

Lampard has been linked with moves to Los Angeles Galaxy, Chinese club Guizhou Renhe and a host of other clubs - even Chelsea's Barclays Premier League rivals Arsenal.

Already short in midfield, Chelsea are unlikely to let him leave in January but he could sign a pre-contract agreement elsewhere.

Lampard added: "I'm not the kind of player to see out my time and sit with my bum on the bench too much. I want to be involved.

"I will keep trying to do that, whatever the circumstances."


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet & £5 free every week


Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Footer 365

World Cup: Michael Garcia's report to be examined by FIFA Audit and Compliance Committee

Michael Garcia's report into the World Cup bidding process will be examined by FIFA's Compliance Committee chairman.

Whelan: Mackay Caused No Offence

Wigan owner Dave Whelan believes that new manager Malky Mackay caused no offence with the content of text messages.

Dave Whelan controversy: Wigan owner apologises for remarks after being accused of anti-Semitism

Wigan owner Dave Whelan has apologised for comments he made in The Guardian which have been attacked as anti-Semitic.

Mail Box

Why Wilshere Can't Play DM For Arsenal...

We have a long mail on where Jack Wilshere fits in for England and Arsenal. Plus, thoughts on Liverpool's poor form, Dave Whelan, and the historical county of Lancashire...

Where Have All The Defenders Gone?

Somebody has done their research and concluded that the top teams in the Premier League concede more goals than ever before. It's interesting; it's the mails...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property