Chelsea: Can Lampard become the Blues' record scorer?
A famous Hindi poet, Gopaldas 'Neeraj' once wrote:“Unhi fakeeron ne banaya hai itihas yahaan, Unpe toh itihas ko likhne ke liye waqt na tha.”In English it means "Those who make history are not conscious of it."
Everyday, millions go about their business without any fuss, doing their jobs and carrying out tasks they are given. Then there are others who make this seeminly mundane function magical. So magical that their acts inspire others to achieve their potential.
History is replete with stories about people who exhibited characteristics beyond what humans can define. Football is no different. It is a reflection on these practioners of the beautiful game that we remember every movements they made, every goal they scored and every tackle they made on a football pitch.
In recent memory, the likes of Ronaldo, Zidane and Maldini often come up when discussing these attributes. Now that these stalwarts have stopped playing at the highest level, their achievements look even more unreal.
But there are current footballers, some of whom have brought us back to the present tense. They remind us of the qualities they possess and the magical things they can do on a football pitch. Their achievements are far beyond their years. Today, there are some footballers, who are not as flashy as their contemporaries, but equally effective and dare I say, match the accomplishments of their celebrated colleagues.
Frank Lampard is one name that comes easily to one's mind.To speak of his accomplishments, he has won 12 trophies in his Chelsea career up to now, including the Premier League trophy and the UEFA Champions League. On a personal note, he has won the Premier League Player of the Year gong twice, 2004/05 and 2005/06 and has also been voted Chelsea's Player of the Year three times.
Lampard is 34 now and is not the first name on the team sheet any more. He has often been asked to play in a more withdrawn role, making it difficult for him to make his trademark runs into the opposition penalty area. Despite all that, Lampard scored a goal so emblematic of his time at Chelsea during the recent win over Norwich, when he latched onto a miscued bicycle kick attempted by Fernando Torres, to smash the ball home. It was his 129th top-flight goal which brough him level with Bobby Tambling, another Chelsea great. It was fitting that he would reach that through one of his custom lung-bursting forward runs that Chelsea fans have become accustomed to watching.
Lampard has now scored 189 goals in all competitions for Chelsea, 13 goals behind Bobby Tambling, with 202 goals. Lampard deserves recognition for scoring as many goals as he has done, especially from midfield but to be Chelsea's all-time leading goalscorer is an accolade he would consider the grandest one.
The question then is, given the current situation, can he go on and achieve the magical number this season itself?
One should consider a few things. One, Lampard is not getting any younger. Chelsea's inclination towards youth and Di Matteo's squad selection this season has translated into limited opportunities for him. Looking at his past, he has always scored 15 to 20 goals a season, such has been his goalscoring consistency in the Premier League.
Two, even if Lampard plays, he would have to play a slightly defensive role thus limiting his chances to score as many goals.
One should look at Lampard's journey to becoming the highest Chelsea goalscorer from a different perspective. In my opinion, if he overtakes the great Tambling this season or the season after, the achievement would be as impressive. It would be the celebration of a Chelsea stalwart who has always put the team ahead of his own interests and has been a model professional in the top flight.
Obsessing on this goal would be doing both, the club and Lampard a great disservice. Lampard himself has said that he would love to overhaul Tambling's tally, but that the team always came first for him.
But even he must acknowledge the reality that he cannot afford to have a free reign in the midfield when the likes of Oscar, Hazard and Mata enjoy that freedom.
So, to anwer the question as to whether Lampard can become Chelsea's highest goalscorer, the answer is yes. As to the question of timing, it should be irrelevant and when it happens, it should be celebrated in a fitting manner.
Lampard is one of those players who fit Neeraj's description of people who make history. Never mindful of his achievements, Lampard has always served Chelsea with distinction and utmost professionalism. It is time we anticipate his march towards greatness and accord him the reception befitting his talents.
Calling all Cheslea fans: How confident are you that Lampard will break Bobby Tambling's long-standing record? There has been talk of Lampard joining Beckham at LA Galaxy in the summer. If he hasn't broken this record by then do you think he will stick around to do so, or if he has do you think it will convince him to go? Where does Lampard feature in your list of all-time Chelsea greats? Whatever your view, we'd love to hear from you.
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