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Jose Mourinho warned Frank Lampard off MLS

Jul 16, 2013, 8:15 PM EDT

Frank Lampard

Did you want to see Frank Lampard in MLS? A lot of people did.

He’s a classy midfielder, a savvy veteran and a bit of a commercial draw. The former England captain looked like the ideal LA Galaxy midfield replacement for David Beckham.

And a deal did seem so tantalizingly close, didn’t it? The sides went back and forth for so very long, starting at some point last summer when the longtime Chelsea man was spotted in sunny So Cal doing vacationing.

In May, a deal seemed downright imminent. The Daily Mail out of England even said Lampard’s fiancée, Christine Bleakley, had blessed the Lampard-Galaxy union.

So what in the world happened? Well, apparently Jose Mourinho happened. The new Chelsea boss – well, you know, the new-old Chelsea boss – took credit Tuesday for waving him off.

I was telling him, the way I know you – don’t go to American soccer. You are a player who needs to compete every week at the highest level, you are a player that needs to be in real competition.

“If you go to the States, it’s a fantastic country, football is coming up and you would be very important there. But if you go there you will not enjoy your life, and you have years to enjoy your life as a player.

“So my opinion was not to go but try and stay at Chelsea – if Chelsea doesn’t want you then try and stay in the Premier League because you belong to high level competition. He was telling me in the Premier League he doesn’t want to play in any other club.”

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