Frank Lampard is a model pro, who deserves not only a new contract but also all the plaudits coming his way, says Chelsea FanZoner Dylan Clive.
Chelsea Football Club and its players have a reputation for livening up the back pages with on-field controversies and filling glossy magazines with private life scandals.
It is hardly surprising that a player in blue has garnered so much media attention recently, but going against the trend, this time there are no adulterous accusations, allegations of racism or interns being shot with BB Guns; this is all about Frank Lampard, Chelsea's leading goalscorer of all time.
While questions of a new contract and an apparent lack of appreciation in the board room have long been put to Lampard, the Chelsea midfielder has remained dignified in interviews, never once speaking badly of the club and consistently being one of their standout performers.
Nowadays, footballers who feel mistreated would usually throw a twitter tantrum, refuse to shake hands or even get so desperate as to drive to QPR. But Lampard is not of the modern cloth. When 40,000 fans are demanding that the club 'sign him up', there would be no need for a public war of words.
Instead, the Chelsea number 8 has simply continued to produce inspiring performances that humiliate the board's failure to discuss a new contract and show what a true professional and loyal servant to the club he is.
Many people shook their heads in disbelief at the £11million paid for the young, somewhat unproven West Ham midfielder with limited experience of the Premier League; after all, he was a pre-Abramovic signing when money did not grow on trees or fractionally distil in oil barrels!
Still, pressure is what all the great players have to live up to and Lampard has made a name for himself on the biggest stages. Throughout his career he has scored important goals at crucial moments and that was evident again on Saturday afternoon at Villa Park.
It had been a tired and ragged performance against a resurgent Aston Villa but with a powerful left-foot drive and a trademark late run into the box, Lampard all-but guaranteed Champions League football for next year and became Chelsea's leading goalscorer of all time in the process.
It was an emotional landmark for a player whose goals have immortalised him as a legend at Stamford Bridge.
Every Chelsea fan will remember his brace against Bolton to crown us Premier League Champions for the first time but there was also the magical chip at Barcelona, the stunning half-volley against Bayern Munich, that lob against Hull, countless swerving 25-yard free-kicks and his FA Cup final winning goal against Everton. But of course, how can you mention Frank Lampard without talking about his reliability from the penalty spot and in particular, the one against Liverpool in the Champions League semi-final?
Despite the passing of his mother, his greatest fan, a week before the game, Lampard still made himself available for the second-leg fixture. When Michael Ballack was tripped in the area by Sami Hyypia in the 98th minute of extra-time, many expected the German captain to pick himself up and place the ball on the spot. There was a hush around the ground as the crowd understood the magnitude of the moment and realised who it was who had stepped up to take the penalty.
Pepe Reina went the wrong way and Lampard smashed it into the bottom corner. Pointing to the sky and kissing his black armband, he was hugged by his team-mates and able to release some of the built up emotion.
His passion and commitment to the club has never been questioned so it's unfortunate that we have not been able to avoid this on-going contract saga.
What Lampard has accomplished in scoring 203 goals and beating Bobby Tambling's 47-year goalscoring record is absolutely phenomenal. Team rotation and a possible end of season exit meant the pressure was on for Lampard to find the target and the celebrations upon reaching the landmark show just how much it meant to him and to the Chelsea crowd.
When Jose Mourinho first arrived at Chelsea he reportedly spoke to Lampard as he emerged from the showers on a pre-season tour of America and stated that he was the best player in the world. He told him to prove it that season, dominate on the pitch and win trophies.
It will be fascinating to know what he says to the Chelsea star on our next pre-season tour of Asia.