LAMPARD: FRIENDS REUNITED IN NEW YORK

Posted on: Sun 22 Jul 2012

It may be a pre-season game but in New York tonight but nothing adds interest like opposition with significant Chelsea history.

Paris St-Germain, who we face in the Yankee Stadium, have that in abundance, not least their current manager Carlo Ancelotti.

'Everyone at Chelsea has a lot of respect for Carlo,' says Frank Lampard, who shared the Italian's two seasons at Stamford Bridge.

'He was an amazing manager and an amazing person, and it will be nice to meet up with him, as it will Paul Clement who was well liked by the lads, and Nick Broad the nutritionist and Claude Makelele as well.

'Carlo winning the Double in his first season at Chelsea was amazing but I remember him as the man as much as anything because of how personable he was.

'You could talk to him on a normal level and even the day he left the club he had a couple of beers with some of the lads. He was just a gentleman through and through so I have very fond memories of his time here.'

Clement, one of Ancelotti's s assistant coaches at Chelsea, now performs a similar role at PSG, as does Makelele who retired from playing at the end of last season. Lampard in the past has made no secret of his admiration for Makelele as a player and he always saw a potential coach in the former France international.

'He was very experienced and he had a lot of words of wisdom at important times because of the teams he had been involved in, and the things he had won before,' Lampard says.

'He has a sound business head on him as well and he can be a good club ambassador or whatever role he is asked to do. He was a great player and he was held in great respect here.'

On the pitch for PSG these days is Alex, our Double-winning central defender who left Chelsea in January.

'Alex was a great player and another great lad,' acknowledges Lampard.

'He was a fantastic defender and you won't find a person at Chelsea who has a bad word to say about him. He was a fantastic pro and trained very hard and he was a really nice man. When he arrived he didn't speak the language much but he made friends because he was a gentle giant.

'I don't think there is anyone in the game who hits the ball as hard as he does and he scored some fantastic goals for us. The one I remember most is the one at home against Liverpool in the Champions League to get us back in that game. I won't want to be in the wall if he is taking free-kicks against us tonight!'