Frank Lampard has said Roman Abramovich’s arrival at Chelsea “changed my career” as the Russian prepares to celebrate his 1,000th match since buying the club in 2003.
Fittingly, José Mourinho’s Tottenham are the visitors to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, with Lampard hoping to provide a 609th win of the Abramovich era that would lift his side above their London rivals in the Premier League.
Across a period that started when Mourinho’s side beat Liverpool in the 2005 League Cup final, Chelsea have won 16 trophies – more than any other English team – and Lampard acknowledged the role played in that success by the owner, who has spent an estimated £2bn at the club.
“As a manager and a player who was involved in a lot of those games I can give him nothing but a huge thank you because nothing we have achieved in the Roman Abramovich era could have been achieved without him or his support,” Lampard said.
“Firstly a financial input but also the development of the training ground and also the love and time put into the academy. And the trophies we have been able to win have been made possible because of him.”
More than six years since his last appearance on the pitch at Stamford Bridge, Lampard still leads the way in goals scored in the Abramovich era with a club record 196 and he said their relationship had not changed since he became manager.
“It has always been professional. That’s how I like to have relationships in the workplace and it will always be the prerogative of the owner to set that tone. I certainly always felt his support over the years, as a player when he first came to the club and as the years have gone by whether he’s here or not, which seems to be a fascination for everybody.
“The important thing now as manager is to feel that support and try to do my best to bring success to the club. So I don’t need a relationship to be anything more than that. I’m very thankful for him doing what he’s done for the club because it changed my career as a player.”