Jose Mourinho Advised Frank Lampard Not to Play In MLS

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.

32 thoughts on “Jose Mourinho Advised Frank Lampard Not to Play In MLS”

  1. But heres the thing: MLS has no credibility to the footballing world. European football considers it a joke.

    And it will continue to be a joke as long as it remains a micromanaged circus with teams who play terrible football and have no danger of relegation and therefore no need to get better.

    1. “And it will continue to be a joke as long as it remains a micromanaged circus with teams who play terrible football and have no danger of relegation and therefore no need to get better.”

      it’s not about any of those things. MLS will only gain more popularity if the USMNT starts beating the best teams in the world and are ranked in the top 6 teams.

    2. Those are tough words to be said about the MLS, I think the MLS has made tremoundous progress in becoming a better league. Already they are drawing fans and getting TV deals, how about this they out draw in attendance NHL and the NBA and baseball might be next, they have a salary cap to keep all the teams involve in competition. Yes i agree they need to develop better players and atract better ones from arounds the world, but that will take a little longer to happen, they have soccer specific stadiums this league is getting better and is one of the best in the Americas, Mexico being the top one and Brazil next.

      In courage in stead of knocking down, this league has a future, and is here to stay.

    3. I am Huge MLS fan (LA Galaxy)and while I have to agree with you Euro Snobs that we are not as good as you are yet. MLS will get stronger and stronger,we are still growing our league,and developing our young players.I’m glad Lampard did not with us,most of us don’t want your old players.We want to spend that money on quality younger players.Don’t under estimate the U.S. I mean look at our american woman, they beat those european woman every chance they get and sooner than you think the MLS will also start defeating the europeans..

    4. Euro Snobs get use to it the MLS is here to stay,and we are getting stronger every year.Sooner than you think we will start defeating your
      euro super clubs.Real Madrid,Man U, Barcelona they make me sick.

  2. “Red flags?” Really? I thought it was pretty well known that MLS is few steps down in quality from the Premier League. MLS is a good league for young American players to develop before making the jump to bigger leagues and for aging superstars to come get a few more big paydays before retiring. All but the most deluded MLS fans are aware of this. That doesn’t mean that MLS “lacks credibility.” It just means that it’s not an elite league like the EPL, La Liga, Serie A, and the like. It’s undeniable that the MLS has improved over its short lifespan, and I see no reason to believe that its status will diminish in the near future.

    As for Lamps, I would hope that most players would want to stay with teams that are competitive for the EPL and Champions League titles if they can play a significant role rather than putting themselves out to pasture in the MLS. IMHO, so long as the UEFA Champions League exists, the top players in the world will continue to play in Europe, and not in the US (or Brazil or Asia or anywhere else).

    1. I disagree with a few of your viewpoints there Jon. First, your assertion that “MLS has improved over its short lifespan.” That depends on how you measure improvement. The number of soccer-specific stadiums and attendance figures, sure. The record of MLS teams in international competitions such as the CONCACAF Champions League tournament, not so much. Second, you said that “MLS is a good league for young American players to develop before making the jump to bigger leagues.” The same could be said for many other leagues around the world including Scandinavia and lower leagues in the United States that are not MLS.

      I love Lampard as a footballer, but I don’t think he’s going to have a significant role next season for Chelsea when they play in the different competitions. He’s in an already-crowded midfield where he’s going to find it very difficult to get consistent playing time.

      1. once again this site slants anti American.
        based on recent days we should not be allowed to play professional soccer, watch professional soccer or talk about professional soccer-even using the term soccer I realize I have put another target on my back- and clearly should have no opinions on the sport

        This article was unnecessary in the shots at MLS. Lampard coming to the US and the improvement of US soccer are unrelated. Go watch a game- I’m sick of the England knows everything about the game bs- We have plenty of players doing well in other leagues, and players who come over don’t exactly impress (Tim Cahill)No one in the US thinks we are on the level of European Leagues-but if you don’t see the quality of play improving you’re not paying attention- just same old stereotypes- gets very old and I’m offended by what’s allowed to be said on this site

        1. Spot on comment. The Eurosnobbery on this website is higher than most I visit.

          While MLS is not as good as other high profile leagues. There are plenty of examples of players who went directly into the EPL and made an impact right away. Donovan, Kamara, Holden, Cameron, and many others who play for teams in CONCACAF.

          Mourinho has no clue what he is talking about. Lampard still has quality but he won’t be an everyweek starter. In MLS he would stay match fit against some talented players and play in elements that may be useful to him if he wants to go to Brazil.

        2. the profile of a typical american soccer fan is that he supports the USMNT, watches EPL, and avoids MLS.

          1. As a Brit expat and someone who has followed MLS since its inception, I have to say the comments on MLS are divorced from the reality that MLS has made huge strides both on the pitch an in the stands. To say in general that American fans support the EPL and avoid MLS is ridiculous. I have seen the growth and the connection of American “Soccer” fans to their local MLS team. I would also say that the level of play in MLS is much higher today than people give it credit in Europe. Finally, if you look at the USMNT reflect on how many players either began in MLS or are currently playing in MLS.

        3. I agree with you gbewing, no one is claming that MLS is near EPL, but we have soccer in this country and we are trying to get better at it. We already made huge leaps and we are already a top league in the Americas. Why the trashing, just support so we can get better!!

      2. Consider that the number of teams in the MLS has grown since its inception while playing quality has improved. An MLS team has not won the CONCACAF Champions League since the 90s, but that doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been improvement. It just means that the Mexican League is still better than the MLS, though I would argue that the gap has closed somewhat. (Also, MLS fans couldn’t care less about it.).

        As to Lampard, we may differ in our respective definitions of what a significant role is. I’m not saying he is going to play every match. But he’s not going to go the way of Paulo Ferriera or Yossi Benayoun and only play against lesser opponents. I am saying he will get significant playing time against major opposition. Chelsea’s midfield is crowded, so there’s a chance that other great midfielders won’t be starting every match either.

        I’m still puzzled as to what you and some commenters here consider “credibility” for a league. No one is saying that MLS is on par with the top European leagues, but I don’t think it has to be to be a credible league. Many players have successfully made the jump from the MLS to the EPL, and it looks like many more will in the future. I think that gives the MLS plenty of credibility.

  3. I’m sorry but suggesting the quality of play in MLS hasn’t improved significantly is not accurate and reeks of Euro snobbery. The strides made by the MLS as a whole in the past decade have been great and I see no signs of it slowing.

    1. MLS have made improvements since 1996, no doubt. But an argument could be made that the quality of soccer is not better than it was in the early period of MLS from 1996-2000 when MLS teams were winning the CONCACAF Champions League.

      What measurement stick do you use to rate that the quality of play has improved significantly?

      Don’t confuse criticism with snobbery. The defensive mechanism among some MLS fans is to blurt out “Euro snob,” but I’d rather get into a good debate than revert to name calling.

      1. When MLS teams were winning those early competitions, they were short tournaments held entirely on American soil. Plus Mexican clubs did not take them seriously like they do now because there was no reward like the Club World Cup in its current form. Its an apples and oranges comparison.

        1. Home advantage is definitely a factor, but there are many people (including pundits that I’ve spoken with, who I respect their opinion) that rate the MLS teams from the late 90s as much better quality than the current crop.

      2. You mean CONCACAF Champions Cup. Yeah, it’s considered to be the same tournament as Champions League, but the format is way different now. Apples to oranges, my friend.

        LA was the last MLS team to win the tournament, and back then (2000) it was just a small knock-out style format between 8 teams. LA won the tournament by beating DC United and 2 teams from Honduras.

        With the growth of the MLS, the CONCACAF Champions League has grown and has become more competitive. There are more teams and more games to get through. I would also question whether any of the Mexican teams actually gave a crap about the competition prior to 2008 when the competition re-branded.

        I feel that MLS has improved in the quality of play, but there is a huge drop off between MLS starting line ups and bench players. If an MLS team is going to win a CONCACAF Champions League title in this day and age, they are going to need to do it by adding depth.

    2. Quality of play has improved from rugby-esque shoving matches to hopeful balls over the top or mad dashes down the touchlines followed by aimless crosses (and a shoving match in the box to boot).


      1. The Galaxy-Timbers match this past Saturday was as good as any PL match I saw this past season on Fox Soccer (and I saw ’em all).

        1. Dude.

          Come on.

          I know you love yourself some MLS, but really?

          On par with the best match of the 2012-2013 EPL season?

          Mate. For real?


          LFC v. CFC 2-2

          Manchester derby at the Etihad 2-3

          Man United v. Spurs 2-3

          Come on, Scottie.

          LA v. Port was a great match, but mate, for real?

          Yet, like religion, sometimes football is just not worth arguing.

          So, you’re right. Your LA v. Portland match was the best match of the season in the whole of all football leagues. Maybe of all time. You win.

          MLS is a crown jewel. How have I been so blind.


          Cheers, mate.

  4. Did you need Mourinho to tell you this? Anyone with an ounce of brain matter knows that the MLS is a big joke.

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