Frank Lampard reveals ‘toughest opponent’ he ever faced during Chelsea career
Frank Lampard has recalled how Andres iniesta was “the toughest opponent” he ever played against.
The former Chelsea midfielder spoke to Gary Neville on The Overlap about the difficulty playing against the Spaniard during his time at Barcelona.
Throughout the prime of Lampard’s career, the Blues enjoyed a fierce rivalry with the Catalan side, with both teams dominant forces in the Champions League.
And those Barcelona sides that routinely faced Chelsea included legendary players such as Xavi, Ronaldinho, Lionel Messi and others.
But Lampard maintains Iniesta was the hardest to compete with.
“Iniesta,” Lampard told Neville emphatically. “He could go either way on you.
Frank Lampard has named Andres Iniesta as his ‘toughest opponent’
“Not many midfield players who play in that central area wanted to take you on so much.
“They want to pass or could run, I played with great players, Stevie G, physically brilliant, but some of the times he’d open up on you and he could take you either way, it meant you couldn’t get near him.
“Him and Xavi when they played in that team were something else.”
Lampard also admitted the one manager he would have loved to have been coached by is Pep Guardiola.
And the Spaniard made a profound impact on Lampard during a testing start to his managerial career.
“He’s sent me voice notes,” Lampard added, recalling the beginning of his reign at Stamford Bridge. “In my first game as Chelsea manager we lost at Man United 4-0. We played well for 60 minutes, then got done on the counter, then bang, bang, 2, 3, it was 4-0.
“Then we lost to Liverpool in the Super Cup. Played well, lost on penalties… I was on the plane on the way back from the game, a little bit disheartened.
“Got a voice note from him, saying the way my team played was incredible, loved watching it, really positive chat. The voice note deleted itself though.
“I wanted to get home and say, ‘listen to this, Pep said I’m a good manager’. Little touches like that, make an impression on you. Sometimes you get caught up in your own world and don’t see things. He’s doing the business and sends you a voice note like that, it was special.”
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