Jose Mourinho admitted today that he advised Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard not to play in Major League Soccer, and to instead stay at Chelsea.
In the interview with Sky Sports News, Mourinho discussed how he had a conversation with Lampard before the 2012-13 Premier League season ended:
“I was telling him that the way I know you, don’t go to American soccer because you are not a player to go to American soccer. You are a player to compete every week at the highest level. You are a player that needs to be in real competition.
“If you go to the States you’d be a very important player but you would not enjoy your life as a player and you have years to enjoy your life as a player.
“So my opinion is not to go, my opinion try to stay at Chelsea. If Chelsea doesn’t want you then try to stay in the Premier League.
“He was telling me in the Premier League he doesn’t want to play in any other club. So I was telling him try to resolve your situation with Chelsea and stay, but don’t go to the States.”
Throughout the 2012-13 Premier League season, Frank Lampard was rumored to be very close to signing a deal to join MLS and play for LA Galaxy. However, his discussion with Mourinho coupled with Chelsea offering him a new one-year contract convinced Lampard to stay at Chelsea.
While many soccer fans will enjoy watching Lampard play for Chelsea for another season, Mourinho’s words are worrying for Major League Soccer. If Mourinho is advising a 35-year-old footballer with one decent year left in his football career to spend that time mostly on the bench at Chelsea instead of playing week-in week-out in a less competitive league, those are certainly red flags for the top flight US league that continues to lack credibility on the world stage.