Rio Ferdinand has revealed that the reason why his friendship with Frank Lampard ended was because they played for rival club. The pair had grown up together playing for West Ham and England, yet when Rio joined United and Lampard joined Chelsea, they grew apart.
When the two clubs faced each other in the biggest game, the Champions League final in 2008, it was Rio who was on the winning side. The following week, all the players were together again on England duty, which John Terry later referred to as the worst week in his life.
Now that Rio and Lampard have retired, they’re back to being mates again.
We had a generation that were nicknamed the golden generation of players where expectations were huge for us a national team to go out and win something. And that there is what held us back. Not being able to separate club ties to international football.
I wrote a chapter in my book about Frank Lampard. We grew up together at West Ham, then we went our separate ways. I went to Man Utd and he went to Chelsea. We did everything together from 16 to 21, we roomed together, travelled together, did everything together.
When I went to Man Utd and he went to Chelsea, we stopped talking. We never spoke about it, we just stopped talking. I wrote this chapter at the end of my career, before it went out, out of courtesy I sent it to Frank and asked him if it was okay to include. He text me back saying if he had written a chapter on me, it would have been word for word. Exactly the same.
We didn’t hate each other but I didn’t want to give him anything that he could take back to Chelsea. I didn’t like him anymore really because he was playing for Chelsea. He was getting his hands on a trophy that I wanted. It was an obsession with winning.
We grew apart and didn’t speak. But now we speak. He was at my birthday the other day. What sport can do to a personal relationship is nuts. It’s mad. All for the obsession of winning.