The former midfielder meets his influential old boss as a manager in his own right when he takes his Derby County team to take on Manchester United in the Carabao Cup
Frank Lampard had just emerged from the shower when Jose Mourinho, his new Chelsea manager walked in and looked him straight in the eye.
“‘All right, boss?’ I asked, wondering what I had done to invite an audience. ‘You are the best player in the world,’ he said without blinking.”
The midfielder didn’t quite know how to take the compliment and was well aware he having the conversation starkers, as he explained in his autobiography.
“I was slightly confused as well as completely naked. Talk about feeling vulnerable. ‘You,’ he said more forcefully, ‘are the best player in the world,’” but added he had to prove it by winning trophies.
“I knew that I wasn’t the best player in the world, but I also knew what he meant. I felt a bit embarrassed. I wanted to get out of the shower and out of the conversation as quickly as I could. He had elevated me to a new level. I felt a massive surge in confidence. I was walking on air for the rest of that day.”
A special relationship had been formed and as for trophies, he now has a shed full of them.
Lampard’s Chelsea silver
Premier League x3
FA Cup x4
League Cup x2
Champions League x1
Europa League x1
Claudio Ranieri had brought him to Stamford Bridge, paying West Ham £11m in 2001, but Mourinho was the one who had the biggest impact on his career.
Now 40, he faces Mourinho as a manager in his own right when Derby travel to Manchester United for their Carabao Cup game – live on talkSPORT.
Lampard became the ultimate professional under the Portuguese and carried with him the values instilled in him even after Mourinho left in 2007 before later taking over at Inter.
He recognised this was a guy he could build his team around and after 2004 his career sky rocketed as he won every major honour in club football.
And the midfielder was even tempted to join him in Italy. “At the time, if I am honest about it, I did have thoughts about going to Inter,” he told Chelsea TV in 2010.
“It was a difficult time for me in my life, things had happened for me personally,” he added in reference to his mum’s sudden death in 2008. “And everybody knows how I feel about Jose Mourinho.”
He remained, though, and etched his name into Chelsea history when he broke Bobby Tambling’s long standing record of 202 goals for Chelsea in May 2013 and finishing on 211 by the time he left a year later.
Manchester United v Derby is live on talkSPORT at 20:00 on Tuesday 25 September