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Former Chelsea superstar announces retirement

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Former England midfielder and Chelsea legend Frank Lampard on Thursday announced his retirement from football, ending a long career of more than 20 years.

"After 21 incredible years, I have decided that now is the right time to finish my career as a professional footballer," the 38-year-old wrote on Facebook.

"Whilst I have received a number of exciting offers to continue playing at home and abroad, at 38 I feel now is the time to begin the next chapter in my life. I'm immensely proud of the trophies I've won, of representing my country over 100 times and of scoring more than 300 career goals," added Lampard, who has played for West Ham United, Chelsea, Manchester City and England.

Lampard, who represented his country in 106 matches, left New York City FC in November after his contract expired.

Lampard is Chelsea's record goal-scorer having joined the club in 2001. Among his honours at the London club were three English Premier League (EPL) titles, four FA Cups, the Champions League in 2011-12 and Europa League in 2012-13.

"I have many people to thank," Lampard said.

"I thank my parents for instilling in me the values of hard work, dedication and professionalism, values which I have carried with me in everything that I do.

"I am forever grateful for the support of my family, my wife Christine and my two daughters Luna and Isla. What you have given me off the pitch has always been my strength on it. I love you all very much.

"Also, my friends and my own team that have always been there for me. I would like to thank the amazing team-mates, coaches, managers and backroom staff that I was privileged to work with. I'd also like to pay tribute to the clubs that I have represented."

He picked out West Ham and Chelsea for special tribute.

Lampard hinted that he might take up coaching in the future.

"Looking forward, I'm grateful to the FA for the opportunity to study for my coaching qualifications and I look forward to pursuing the off-field opportunities that this decision opens," he said.