Chelsea legend Franck Lampard did not just equal Bobby Tamblings record on Saturday afternoon when qualification for next season’s Champions League had been the utmost priority; he carved a niche for himself at the heart of Stamford Bridge by becoming the club’s highest goal scorer.
The 34- year- old midfielder struck his 202nd and 203rd goal in a Chelsea shirt to surpass Tambling’s all- time goalscoring record for the club and assure his side a Champions League place next season, in the 2-1 defeat of Aston Villa.
Chelsea conceded first with Christian Benteke’s first- half strike in a game that had two players sent off. Ramires was the first casualty for a second bookable offence one minute to the break, before Benteke got his matching orders close to the hour mark.
With either team ten men aside, the game was poised to be balanced; however, the Blues gained an edge over the home team as they started to control the pace.
Lampard’s moment came when he coolly collected a pass from Eden Hazard, switched the ball to his left foot and fired past Brad Guzan from 15 yards to level scores at 1-1.
His second of the match came after clever play from Ashley Cole and Hazard, before the latter squared for Lampard to ram home from close range.
Some fans spilled onto the pitch to celebrate with the England international after he broke the record.
After the game, Lampard, in response to his superlative fit said: “It means everything, it’s amazing.
“The support I’ve had from teammates, you saw that at the end and I’m thankful to every one of them because they’re the ones that put it on a plate for me sometimes.
“And the fans, they’ve been with me for a long time and were probably frustrated alongside me not getting there so I’m just delighted.
Bobby Tambling is a great man, he’s not been well lately but he’s a great man.
“I was pleased to level it but I didn’t want to overcook that celebration out of respect for him. But to then go and break it, I was delighted.
“I’ve been here a long time, I lost my mum a few years ago and she was my biggest supporter so it’s for her.”
Lampard will have the chance to extend his new record against Benfica in Wednesday’s Europa Cup final, if he plays, and also in the final game of the season next Sunday against Everton at Stamford Bridge. But before then, ‘viva Lampard,’ Chelsea’s all- time highest goal scorer.