Former Chelsea player Samuele Dalla Bona has claimed he was better than Frank Lampard when they were young players.
“The reason Lamps joined Chelsea was because I was on the verge of a transfer to Serie A club Venice in 2001. So the club signed Lampard from West Ham to replace me.. But Ranieri wanted to keep me and told the club not to sanction my transfer. So I stayed,” Dalla Bona told Capital Football.
“In those days, Lampard was often left out of the starting XI while I played. But I remember that when we played with three midfielders, we both played.
“I want to be clear to avoid any misunderstandings. Frank was a better player than I was, everyone knows his legendary career and the player he became.
“But when we were young, I was better than him. I had more dynamism, read the game better and tactically I was more intelligent than him. I also scored more goals and was a complete box-to-box midfielder, who was good at both attacking and defending.
“Ranieri worked a lot with Lampard and before long he became a threat in the final third and started scoring goals. From outside the box, tap-ins, everything.
“When he joined he was a good player but Ranieri improved and disciplined Lampard a lot tactically. He looked all over the place at times. In 2001, he wasn’t the player he became in 2007 or 2008. We know how far Lampard got in the game and he owes a lot of this success to Ranieri.”