Frank Lampard was unceremoniously sacked as Everton boss on Monday after less than a year in charge of the troubled club.
AFP Sport looks at the highs and lows of the former England midfielder’s playing and coaching career.
Titan of the Russian revolution
Although signed before Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich’s takeover in 2003, Lampard played a pivotal role in transforming Chelsea into serial contenders for major trophies.
He was the match-winner on the day a 50-year wait to win a league title ended, scoring twice in a 2-0 win at Bolton in 2005.
Seven years on, Lampard scored a penalty in the shootout as Chelsea stunned Bayern Munich on home soil to win the club’s first-ever Champions League.
He also won two more Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups and the Europa League.
Lampard’s ability to score goals from midfield during his illustrious 13-year career at Stamford Bridge meant he left Chelsea as the club’s all-time record goalscorer in 2013.
In total he struck 211 times in 648 games, breaking Bobby Tambling’s record that had stood for more than 40 years.
His tally of 177 Premier League goals for West Ham and Chelsea is a record for a midfielder, putting him above celebrated forwards such as Thierry Henry and Robbie Fowler.
Lampard returned to Chelsea after just one year in management at then Championship club Derby County.
Hampered by a transfer ban and the loss of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid, expectations for his first season in charge were low.
But he hit his target to keep the club in the Champions League thanks to a fourth-placed finish and they also reached the FA Cup final, where they lost to Arsenal.
Unlike many of the managers that went before him, Lampard gave the club’s talented academy prospects the chance to shine as Mason Mount, Reece James and Tammy Abraham impressed.
Axed by Chelsea 12 months earlier, Lampard walked into Goodison Park in January 2022 hoping to make the most of his second chance as a Premier League boss.
But he was unable to handle the unrealistic expectations of a fanbase steeped in hazy memories of Everton’s 1980s heyday, a badly constructed squad left by his predecessor Rafael Benitez and a disfunctional boardroom.
Lampard wasn’t blameless for Everton’s plunge into the relegation zone this season, but he was more a victim of difficult circumstances than the instigator of the Toffees’ decline.
Lampard suffered an equally brutal exit in his brief Chelsea reign.
Hired by the Blues after just one season as a manager with then Championship side Derby, Lampard was dismissed six months into his second season at Stamford.
After a positive first campaign that included Champions League qualification and an FA Cup final appearance, Lampard failed to meet increased expectations following a hefty spending spree on new signings.
Lampard’s legendary status among fans, and his strong relationship with then owner Roman Abramovich, was still not enough for the Chelsea hierarchy to ignore the deterioration in results and performances.
Lampard was part of England’s “Golden Generation” also including Wayne Rooney, and Steven Gerrard, that never gelled to excel at a major tournament.
As energetic, goalscoring midfielders, Lampard and Gerrard inspired Chelsea and Liverpool to conquer Europe with their clubs. But their perceived incompatibility as a partnership was often pinpointed as a root cause for England’s underachievement.
Paul Scholes retired from international football at just 29 after being shunted into wide positions at Euro 2004 to make way for Lampard and Gerrard.
Lampard is one of only nine players to win 100 or more England caps, but quarter-final runs at Euro 2004 and the World Cup in 2006 were the closest he came to international honours.