Frank Lampard is revered in Italy – and Serie A would make a perfect fit for the Chelsea midfielder
“I am here with Frankie!” The shocked midfielder’s eyes widened at his interviewer’s familiarity. Strangers didn’t normally call him that. But the Italian TV lady started her live chat as if they were best pals. It was fitting. Italy has always appreciated and felt comfortable around the Chelsea star.
That friendly interview was in 2006 when Lampard was firmly blue. Now the Brazil slayer’s future is less secure. If Frank James Lampard junior is seeking a new club, he must consider Italy, where fans and pundits have cherished his decade of impressive Champions League performances.
Calcio vernacular has a snazzy term for every ‘Frankie’ we’ve seen. The raiding, coruscating back-to-back title winner, honed by Jose Mourinho, is known to Italians as a ‘cursore’. Meaning cursor, this hard-running midfielder drives into the opponents’ area with quartz timing and scores. Claudio Marchisio of Juventus is current cursor king in Serie A, Milan’s Antonio Nocerino is another thrilling example.
Of course, at 34, Romford-born Lampard has lost some of his power and stamina. But the Naboo from the Mighty Boosh soundalike retains supreme passing and tactical nous. The veteran is a perfect candidate to be a ‘regista’.
Translated as ‘director’ and also used to describe Francis Ford-Coppola and Steven Spielberg, the regista normally sits in front of defence, efficiently dispatching the ball to the right people.
Andrea Pirlo is today’s blockbuster director (his beard is better than Spielberg’s too). Also labelled ‘playmakers’, they start attacks and dictate the tempo.
This suits Lampard. The Italian league has always valued technique over raw speed and tactics to toil. You are forgiven wooden legs as long as your feet aren’t concrete. When Milan signed David Beckham for the first time in 2009 there was scepticism.
After watching workaholic Becks in training sinister Rossoneri director Adriano Galliani said “everyone respects him.” Carlo Ancelotti, coach during the first loan, never doubted his acumen, control and skill. “He is an intelligent player. He can interpret every slot in midfield. He even played trequartista,” mumbled Carletto.
Treqaurtista is the mercurial schemer behind the forwards, slipping in perfect throughballs and as Roberto Mancini says “finding space in a jungle of legs.” Lampard might have the odd opportunity to play as a trequartista.
This eventuality is least likely. The role is not in vogue in calcio these days, and as Zvonimir Boban noted, the true trequartista should be able to beat an opponent – not a Lampsy speciality. Becks only played there, in Milan’s 3-0 win over Atalanta in March 2009, because of an injury crisis.
The reasons Beckham thrived during his two stays in Italy are transferable to the Chelsea’s classy vice-captain. He’s an excellent trainer and clean-living professional with fantastic feet, dead-ball prowess, awareness and experience. The England ace is also bright enough to learn Italian.
If Lampard goes to Serie A he can give the lungs a break and engage his brain. Who wouldn’t be tempted by this luxury cruise into retirement? Lampsy will be welcomed like a hero and whether a cursore, regista or trequartista, he’ll always be “Frankie” to the Italians.Tagged in: chelsea, Frank Lampard
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