Van Persie declares Chelsea legend Lampard ‘was on Zidane level’

Van Persie declares Chelsea legend Lampard ‘was on Zidane level’

Former Arsenal and Manchester United striker Robin van Persie has paid tribute to Chelsea legend Frank Lampard.

Van Persie says the Derby manager was comparable to Zinedine Zidane.

Van Persie insisted: “There was ­something fascinating about the way Frank Lampard operated on the pitch.

“For me, the art of being a great player is seeing things early and ­reading situations before others do. Luka Modric is brilliant at it – but Frank was the best of all.

“I heard that some coaches observed him once for 90 minutes and it was noted that Frank’s eyes looked all around the pitch about 1,000 times. When I heard about that, I took it on board and decided to work on that aspect of my game intensively.

“Most players need time to control a ball when they receive it. Their head goes down for a second and then it comes back up again – and, in that moment, you lose two vital seconds of decision-making.

“And when you play against world-class players, you don’t get that kind of space and time. You need to keep up the speed in the game. It is the only way you can surprise your opponents. So, during a match, I am always scanning the pitch for space, for ­positions, for opponents and for ­team-mates. The older I became, the more I did it.

“These days, I often play as a No.10 in midfield, which means I have three attackers in front of me.

“I have made assists for goals for team-mates by delivering my passes early. It is crucial to know who is where on the entire pitch. And because the situation is ­constantly changing, Lampard would look up a thousand times.

“It is very tiring. But if you have the picture in your head, that means you can play the fast ball. It is such an important option.

“Lampard used to do that – and I once saw Zinedine Zidane play the perfect match.

“In 90 minutes, I saw that he never once lost the ball. Simply because he was always aware what was happening around him.”

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