Frank Lampard confirms Chelsea exit ahead of proposed move to New York…

Frank Lampard will be confirmed as a New York City player within the next week after confirming his Chelsea departure.

As we exclusively revealed, the England vice-captain – 36 this month – has agreed a lucrative deal to move to Manchester City’s US franchise along with Spain striker David Villa.

Although New York City, co-owned by Man City and baseball’s New York Yankees, do not begin play until March 2015, Lampard will NOT play for City in the meantime, maintaining his promise not to line up against Chelsea for any other top-flight club.

But his announcement ends his 13-year love affair with the west Londoners, where he made 648 appearances and wrote his name into Stamford Bridge legend as the leading scorer with 211 goals.

Signed for £11million from West Ham in 2001, Lampard also lifted three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, a Champions League title and one Europa League before being released by the Blues last week.

Lampard said: “When I arrived at this fantastic club 13 years ago I would never have believed that I would be fortunate enough to play so many games and enjoy sharing in so much success.

“This club has become part of my life and I have so many people to thank for the opportunity.

“Firstly, Ken Bates, who put his neck on the line to sign me as a young player and without him I would not have even begun this experience.

“Roman Abramovich, the man who saved our club and took us all to new levels. His desire to push the club to the top of the football world has rubbed off on everyone.

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“All the managers and coaches who have helped me develop my game during the time I have been here. I have learnt from every one of them.

“All the brilliant team mates who I have been lucky enough to train and play alongside for so long. Not just their football qualities but also the friendships I have gained along the way.

“I’d also like to give a special mention to all the staff and people behind the scenes at the club who do not receive the glory but without them the Club would simply not function.

“The club will move forward, and as a Chelsea man I have no doubt that with the quality of the players that are there, they will continue with the success that we have all enjoyed over the past seasons.

“Finally and most importantly, I would like to thank the Chelsea fans. I believe they are the greatest fans in world football. You have supported me from the moment I arrived. Not only on the pitch, but in difficult moments in my personal life off the pitch. I will never forget.

“I feel honoured to have shared so many special times with you. Bolton, Amsterdam, Munich, the list goes on and on. I, and we as a team, could not have achieved those moments without your support.

“Whatever the next challenge is for me I will always be amongst you and have Chelsea in my home and in my heart. Hopefully I will get to see you all soon to say goodbye properly. In the meantime thank you for the memories and keep making history!”