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Monday, February 23, 2009

"I am here thanks to him." Frank Lampard on Claudio Ranieri

Manchester United v Chelsea - UEFA Champions League Final

Frank Lampard is a "figlio d'arte."

Which in Italian means that he followed his father's footsteps into professional football. Frank Sr. was a West Ham legend, and the boyhood club of Frank Jr. But many years ago, the younger Lampard made the switch to London rival, Chelsea. Now he is one of the highest paid and most talented players in the world.

Ahead of Wednesday's UEFA Champions League match with Juventus, Frank praised his former Chelsea manager, Claudio Ranieri:

“Lo adoro – ha ammesso il centrocampista – perché se non fosse stato per Claudio, io potrei non essere qui in questo momento. E’ stato lui a volermi al Chelsea, ad aiutarmi a migliorare, a mostrarmi che esiste anche un altro modo di giocare. Quando ero un ragazzo di belle speranze al West Ham, avevo la mente chiusa e non sapevo come viveva un professionista o come fosse lo stile di gioco continentale. Lui mi ha portato qui e mi ha insegnato tutte queste cose e per questo non posso fare altro che ringraziarlo per il modo in cui ha aiutato la mia carriera”.

Source: La Gazzetta dello Sport, 23 February 2009.
"I adore him, admitted the midfielder, because if it weren't for Claudio, I would not be here at this moment. It was he who wanted me at Chelsea, who helped me to become better, to show me that another style of play existed.

When I was a young prospect with great hopes at West Ham, I had a closed mind and didn't know how to act like a professional or what was the Continental style of play. He brought me here and taught me these things, and for this I can't thank him enough for the way in which he helped my career."
A rare tribute indeed.

It should be very interesting to witness the reception for Mister Ranieri when he returns to Stamford Bridge. The "Tinkerman" ushered in the winning ways of Chelsea, and many might say that he set the table for Jose' Mourinho's tremendous success at the club.

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