The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks.
England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to a two-year deal with the club — set to begin play in 2015 — and will most likely fill one of their designated player slots. Each MLS team can sign three designated players who are not subject to the team's salary cap.
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“I am really excited about joining New York City FC and helping to play a real part in building something special in one of the sporting capitals of the world,” said Lampard. “The passion of the nation’s fans at the World Cup was second to none and I am looking forward to meeting New Yorkers and tapping into their love of the game.”
NYCFC already signed Spanish international David Villa to their first designated player spot earlier this summer.
Lampard, 36, played for English Premier League club Chelsea until his contract ran out at the end of the most recent season. He is Chelsea's all-time leading goal scorer, having played for them since 2001. He started his professional career with West Ham United in 1995 and made 148 appearances with them until 2001 when he transferred to Chelsea for 11 million pounds.
He scored just six goals last season for Chelsea in the EPL after reaching double figures every season from 2003-04 to 2012-13.
Lampard has won three Premier League titles, four FA Cup titles and won the Champions League in 2012 with Chelsea.
The midfielder has played since the English national team since 1999. He's made 106 caps and has 29 goals, including appearances in the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cup.
NYCFC is a joint venture by the New York Yankees and the EPL's Manchester City. The team will play at Yankee Stadium in its first season, though a soccer-specific stadium is planned for them eventually.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.