It was another fantastic end to the season for the Blues, but one man had more to celebrate than most, as Frank Lampard broke the club’s long-standing goalscoring record, captained the side to the Europa League title and capped it all off by signing a new one-year contract to keep him here for a 13th year.
In this month’s Chelsea magazine, the midfielder reflects on a truly incredible week. ‘I’m absolutely delighted, I really am,’ he explains. ‘I made no secret of the fact that I wanted to stay – I love the club. I’ve been so well received and the fans have been amazing since day one. This club becomes you. Once you’ve played for it, you’re always welcomed back for the rest of your life, so you become Chelsea and it becomes you.’
Two goals against Aston Villa not only took him past Bobby Tambling’s 202-goal milestone, but also guaranteed Champions League football at Stamford Bridge next season.
‘I was pleased they came in the game that guaranteed we will be in the Champions League next year,’ he explains. ‘Scoring goals in big matches and at big moments, they are the ones that really get the hairs on your arms standing up when you reflect on them.
‘I look back at my goals at Bolton in 2005 [to clinch our first Premier League title] and it was amazing. That was a great period for me, with things clicking here, and I was really confident at that time that I could score big goals like that.
‘I’d say they mean even more than the spectacular ones. That tap-in at Villa Park to beat the record was huge for me and the feeling much superseded the first one, which was technically a better goal.’
Of course it was not only Lampard celebrating in May. Juan Mata, who rates his English team-mate as a major influence on the field, was voted our double Player of the Year, as both fans and colleagues rated him our outstanding performer of 2013/14. It was, he tells Chelsea, the perfect way to end a perfect year.
‘I am really, really happy and very proud – it is the best feeling in the world to feel loved by the supporters and my team-mates. It has made my year perfect,’ the Spaniard said.
‘You can’t ask me to choose between them! The players one is very special because they are my team-mates and they see me every day. Together, we share the good and bad moments, so that makes it a big honour to be voted by them. The supporters one, meanwhile, is from everybody who watches Chelsea from every part of the world. They are the heart of the club.’
There is plenty more from both Lampard and Mata, who reacts to comparisons with Gianfranco Zola and the Europa League win against Benfica, which came courtesy of Branislav Ivanovic’s injury-time header.
The Serbian defender also features prominently this month, as he provides his Football Men, the list of figures who have most influenced his career to date. There are names familiar to Chelsea fans as well as a few new ones to discover, but we are giving nothing away here.
If that is not enough there is also comprehensive coverage of both the Player of the Year awards and that memorable night in Amsterdam, while Mark Hoppus, one-third of US punk rockers Blink-182 and a huge Chelsea fan, is this month’s celebrity interview in One Of Us. He explains how he ended up as a Chelsea fan, why he can’t stand draws, and the appeal of darts to an American.
July’s Chelsea is available now, still priced at £3.25, from the Chelsea Megastore and all good newsagents.