Frank Lampard: New York City FC sign ex-Chelsea midfielder

Frank Lampard
Midfielder Frank Lampard scored 211 goals in 649 appearances during a 13-year Chelsea career

Former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard has joined Major League Soccer side New York City FC on a two-year deal.

Lampard, 36, was released by the Blues at the end of last season after his contract expired to end his 13-year association with the London side.

He moved from West Ham to Chelsea in June 2001 in an £11m transfer and became the club's record goalscorer with 211 goals in his 649 appearances.

Lampard on his departure from Chelsea

"New York ticks all the right boxes for me. It's very exciting," said Lampard.

"Chelsea will always have a huge place in my heart, but it's now a new challenge.

"I had a fantastic 13 years there and can look back at that with pride, but it was a great time for me and Chelsea to move on.

"Having seen the vision of this club, I have seen a real long-term plan and I want to be involved and I want to keep on challenging myself."

Newly-formed New York City FC will play in their first MLS season in 2015.

The franchise, which is owned by Manchester City, are currently building their squad and have already signed ex-Spain striker David Villa from La Liga winners Atletico Madrid.

However, Villa, 32, will spend three months on loan from October to December at Australia A-League side Melbourne City and Lampard could look for a similar loan spell, or train in England to maintain his fitness.

New York sporting director Claudio Reyna, who played in Scotland with Rangers and in the Premier League with Sunderland and Manchester City, described the deal as "really exciting".

Lampard reflects on England's World Cup in Brazil

"Frank Lampard is one of the greatest players in Premier League history and in European and world football over the last 15 years," he added.

"He is a leader and we are extremely delighted to have him here."

During his time at Stamford Bridge, Lampard was Chelsea's vice-captain and won the Premier League title three times, the Champions League once and the Europa League once.

He also won four FA Cups and the League Cup twice and has also gained 106 England caps throughout his career, with his last international appearance coming in the 0-0 draw against Costa Rica in the World Cup.

England captain Steven Gerrard announced his retirement from international football last week and Lampard admitted he would have to consider his own future with the national team.

He added: "In terms of England, I've not had a lot of time after the World Cup. Getting my personal future was the most important, now I have to think about England.

"Now I know where I will be playing my football, I can make that decision and I will do soon."

Frank Lampard's career honours
Premier League titles: 2004-05, 2005-06, 2009-10
FA Cup wins: 2006-07, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2011-12
League Cup wins: 2004-05, 2006-07
Champions League win: 2011-12
Europa League win: 2012-13

The MLS is gaining strength with a number of world stars now signed to teams.

Ex-Arsenal striker Thierry Henry plays for New York Red Bulls and former Brazil forward Kaka will play for Orlando City in 2015.

Other players in the competition include England striker Jermain Defoe (Toronto FC), ex-Everton midfielder Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls) and former Newcastle forward Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders), while former Tottenham attackers Robbie Keane and Clint Dempsey play for Los Angeles Galaxy and Seattle Sounders respectively.

Frank Lampard
Chelsea paid West Ham £11m to sign Frank Lampard in June 2001
Frank Lampard
He scored against Manchester United in the 2008 Champions League final in Moscow, but Chelsea lost the match after a penalty shoot-out
Frank Lampard
However, Lampard would get his hands on the Champions League trophy four years later
Frank Lampard
He scored a total of 211 goals for Chelsea and became their record goalscorer in May 2013
Frank Lampard
The last trophy Frank Lampard won at Chelsea was the Europa League at the end of the 2012-13 season