The 38-year-old received a glowing tribute from John Terry, his long-time friend and Chelsea team-mate.
Steven Gerrard, with whom Lampard tussled often in opposition and never quite gelled with England, added his congratulations.
Lampard hinted at his future career direction in his retirement statement after revealing he declined offers to continue playing.
“After 21 incredible years, I have decided that now is the right time to finish my career as a professional footballer,” Lampard wrote on Instagram.
“Whilst I have received a number of exciting offers to continue playing at home and abroad, at 38 I feel now is the time to begin the next chapter in my life.
“Looking forward, I’m grateful to the FA (Football Association) for the opportunity to study for my coaching qualifications and I look forward to pursuing the off-field opportunities that this decision opens.”
That leaves open the prospect of a return to Chelsea, who have long stated a desire to retain a lasting affinity with players of Lampard’s generation, through ambassadorial, commercial or coaching roles.
Although with Antonio Conte’s side nine points clear and favourites for the Premier League title, Lampard will likely have to wait to fulfil his ambition of managing the Blues.
Former Liverpool captain Gerrard retired last November and has since taken up a role with the Reds’ academy. A similar role at Chelsea would offer a possible route into management for Lampard.
Terry paid an emotional tribute.
“The GREATEST player in the history of our great football club,” Terry wrote.
Gerrard added: “Congratulations to @franklampard incredible player, incredible career. Good luck for your future mate.”
Chelsea’s record goalscorer also played for West Ham and Manchester City in the Premier League. He left New York City FC last autumn.
For club and country, Lampard made 1,019 appearances, scoring 302 goals.
His retirement statement was full of thanks – for West Ham, the club which gave him his debut in 1996, City, but most notably Chelsea.
He did not mention Swansea, where he made nine appearances on loan from the Hammers in 1995-96.
Swansea boss Paul Clement on Thursday revealed he had tried to coax Lampard back to south Wales, without success.
Lampard is Chelsea’s record goalscorer. He scored 211 goals in 648 appearances over 13 years at the club he joined from West Ham for £11million in 2001.
He netted the goals in a win at Bolton which in 2005 secured the club’s first championship title in 50 years.
And, with Terry suspended, Lampard was captain on the night Chelsea won the 2012 Champions League in Munich. He won every major club honour with the Blues.
“The largest part of my heart belongs to Chelsea, a club which has given me so many great memories,” he added.
“I will never forget the opportunity they gave me and the success that we managed to achieve together.
“It is impossible to give thanks individually to all the people that helped and supported me in my 13 years playing there.
“All I can say is from the day I signed until now and going forward, I’m eternally grateful for everything and to everyone.
“Chelsea fans gave myself and my teammates such incredible support.
“Their passion and hunger drove me on personally to give my best year after year. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
He scored against a record 39 Premier League opponents. And with England he netted 29 goals in 106 caps.
But it is a ‘goal’ which was not awarded which gives him a lasting legacy on the field.
His 2010 World Cup strike against Germany clearly went across the line and expedited the introduction of goal-line technology.
FIFA joined the congratulations for a career which included playing in three World Cup tournaments, labelling him “Legend” in a Twitter post.
Lampard’s club achievements, in terms of trophies, went unmatched on the international stage.
And he retired from international football after his involvement in the 2014 World Cup, when England were dumped out at the group stage.
As well as his former clubs, Barcelona and AC Milan were among those to congratulate Lampard on his retirement, as many marvelled over the statistics of a stunning career.
Frank Lampard Retirement Statement
After 21 incredible years, I have decided that now is the right time to finish my career as a professional footballer. Whilst I have received a number of exciting offers to continue playing at home and abroad, at 38 I feel now is the time to begin the next chapter in my life. I’m immensely proud of the trophies I’ve won, of representing my country over 100 times and of scoring more than 300 career goals.
I have many people to thank. I thank my parents for instilling in me the values of hard work, dedication and professionalism, values which I have carried with me in everything that I do. I am forever grateful for the support of my family, my wife Christine and my two daughters Luna and Isla. What you have given me off the pitch has always been my strength on it. I love you all very much. Also, my friends and my own team that have always been there for me. I would like to thank the amazing team-mates, coaches, managers and backroom staff that I was privileged to work with. I’d also like to pay tribute to the clubs that I have represented. Firstly, West Ham United who gave me my debut in 1996. Thanks to the people there that believed in me at that young age. More recently Manchester City and NYCFC. I greatly enjoyed my last playing years at these two clubs and really appreciate the support I received from City Football Group and both clubs’ fans.
Of course, the largest part of my heart belongs to Chelsea, a club which has given me so many great memories. I will never forget the opportunity they gave me and the success that we managed to achieve together. It is impossible to give thanks individually to all the people that helped and supported me in my 13 years playing there. All I can say is from the day I signed until now and going forward, I’m eternally grateful for everything and to everyone. Chelsea fans gave myself and my teammates such incredible support. Their passion and hunger drove me on personally to give my best year after year. I couldn’t have done it without them.
Looking forward, I’m grateful to the FA for the opportunity to study for my coaching qualifications and I look forward to pursuing the off-field opportunities that this decision opens.
Frank Lampard In Numbers
11,000,000 – The fee, in pounds, paid by Chelsea to West Ham for the midfielder’s signature in 2001.
13 – Years at Stamford Bridge.
50 – Chelsea’s first league title in half a century was secured in 2005 with two Lampard goals in a win at Bolton.
164 – Number of consecutive Premier League appearances for Chelsea (a record for any outfield player) from October 2001 to December 2005.
211 – Goals for Chelsea, a club record, eclipsing Bobby Tambling’s long-standing total of 202.
11 – Major trophies won with Chelsea (one European Cup, one Europa League, three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups).
0 – There was no fee involved in the move to Manchester City, who agreed a short-term deal after Lampard had said he was moving to their sister club, New York City FC.
85 – The minute of Lampard’s goal against Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium which earned City a 1-1 draw in September 2014.
15 – Goals in 31 games for New York City FC.
106 – England caps, featuring 29 goals.
Frank Lampard: 10 Great Goals
England 3-1 Croatia (Friendly, Portman Road, August 2003)
A stunning long-range effort tore into the top corner to complete a comfortable win for Sven-Goran Eriksson’s England. Picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and combined placement and power to give Stipe Pletikosa in the Croatia goal no chance.
England 4-2 Croatia (Euro 2004, Estadio da Luz, June 2004)
Had scored England’s goal in the last-gasp defeat to France in their opening game of the tournament, and sealed their progress to the quarter-finals with a fine solo effort to round off the scoring against Croatia. He cut in from the right and buried a low left-footed effort from the edge of the box.
Chelsea 4-2 Bayern Munich (Champions League, Stamford Bridge, April 2005)
After his goal against Barcelona helped Chelsea advance to the last eight, Lampard scored twice in this first-leg defeat of Bayern. His second was a piledriver, controlling a cross from Claude Makelele on his chest before swivelling and powering a half-volley past Oliver Kahn.
Bolton 0-2 Chelsea (Premier League, Reebok Stadium, April 2005)
Scored twice to seal Chelsea’s first league title triumph in 50 years. The second was a sublime counter-attacking goal as he raced on to Makelele’s through-ball, charged on into the area and rounded Jussi Jaaskelainen before tucking in to spark scenes of jubilation.
Barcelona 2-2 Chelsea (Champions League, Nou Camp, October 2006)
Levelled in the 52nd minute with a delightful piece of skill. Initially he miscontrolled a pass from Makelele and was driven wide of goal. It looked an impossible angle, tight to the touchline, but somehow he curled a chip over Victor Valdes and inside the back post.
Hull 0-3 Chelsea (Premier League, KC Stadium, October 2008)
Scored a delicate chip which prompted World Cup-winning Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe Scolari of Brazil to say: “It was one of the best goals I have seen in my life.” Displayed perfect technique to chip over the stranded Boaz Myhill for his 99th career league goal.
England 4-0 Slovakia (Friendly, Wembley, March 2009)
The 500th goal by an England player at Wembley. In familiar fashion, Lampard surged into the box with nine minutes left, gliding past two defenders before rolling a low shot in at the far post.
Chelsea 2-1 Everton (FA Cup, Wembley, May 2009)
His 20th of the season was the decisive strike at Wembley, as Chelsea responded to conceding the fastest goal in FA Cup final history to Louis Saha in Guus Hiddink’s last match as boss. Lampard was assisted by a slight slip as he checked inside Phil Neville, allowing him a couple of extra seconds to drill in left-footed from 20 yards.
Chelsea 7-0 Stoke (Premier League, Stamford Bridge, April 2010)
Used instinct to meet a cross from the right from Sam Hutchinson with the outside of his right foot at the far post. He redirected the ball across goal and past Asmir Begovic. He also scored in the wins over Liverpool and Wigan which secured the league title by a single point.
Vancouver Whitecaps 1-2 New York City 2 (MLS, BC Place, September 2015)
Remained capable of the spectacular even in the twilight of his career. Angelino’s cross from the left was fired across the 18-yard line and Lampard opened his body to bury the ball in the bottom corner with a first-time half-volley.
What next for Frank Lampard?
Return to Chelsea?
Lampard has spoken of his desire to become a coach and in his retirement statement he thanked the Football Association for the opportunity to study for his qualifications. Could he join Antonio Conte’s backroom staff at Chelsea? The Italian may be wary. Lampard told Soccer AM last October of his wish to go into management. “It’s hard, because I only want the Chelsea job,” he said. Chelsea have long maintained they want to retain a connection to Lampard’s generation.
Space on the sofa?
Lampard has already shared his insights with television viewers. He is bright, articulate and a fine reader of the game – as his performances show. He is honest and does not resort to banalities and cliches. The pundits’ sofa is becoming full, but Lampard would be a welcome addition.
Lampard has already penned kids’ books in the Frankie’s Magic Football series. He enjoys reading with his two daughters and wanted to promote child literacy. Whether he would expand his repertoire beyond the series or take a different approach is not yet known.
Lampard is already a team captain on ITV gameshow Play To The Whistle. He is sure to have offers flooding in for Strictly Come Dancing, I’m a Celebrity and The Jump. Whether he will choose to dance the tango, eat Australian bugs or go off the end of a ski jump remains to be seen.