FRANK LAMPARD revealed he does not have a ‘close, close’ relationship with Roman Abramovich.
And the Chelsea manager insisted it was Marina Granovskaia who he dealt with to negotiate his return to Stamford Bridge last year.
Frank Lampard, centre, insists his relationship with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, right, is not ‘close, close’[/caption]
Lampard, 42, joined Chelsea in 2001, two years before Abramovich bought the club with 16 major trophies following since the billionaire’s takeover.
But despite their long affiliation together, the record goalscorer admitted the pair are in limited contact on a purely professional basis.
Speaking to The Athletic ahead of Abramovich’s 1,000th match as Chelsea owner – ironically against Jose Mourinho – Lampard said: “In terms of his level of involvement, he was very visible at the training ground in the early years and occasionally after games and now obviously that’s changed.
“That’s maybe natural in how his life has moved as well as the club, and we know there are different reasons behind that.
“I haven’t had a close, close relationship with him, albeit I report back my thoughts on games, on where I see us and where I see us moving forward consistently through Marina and I’m very happy with that.
“I would say the relationship is close without being practically close day-to-day or week-to-week.
“I feel the support from afar, but it’s very straight, very cut-and-dried and that’s how I try to give it back.
“If I’m commenting on how we’re playing or performing, I don’t beat around the bush.
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“Whether good or bad, I think that’s the right policy with a man of that level.
“He’s a man who gets things done – you don’t get to his position without that.”
Abramovich attended Chelsea’s 4-0 win over Krasnador in Russia in October.
That was the first live Blues match he had attended since a pre-season friendly against Red Bull Salzburg in July 2019, 15 months earlier.
At the time, the ex-Derby chief said he ‘hoped he made Abramovich happy’ with the resounding victory.
The Israeli-Russian has taken a step back and largely steered clear of Stamford Bridge in recent years – even more so since issues surrounding a visa – leaving trusted confidante Granovskaia in charge of matters, including transfers and contracts.
And it was football’s most powerful woman, Chelsea’s director, who rubber-stamped a £5.5m-per-year deal for the Chelsea legend to complete his fairytale return to West London.
Lampard added: “When I came back to the club, no.
“It was Marina who contacted Derby and then myself to make that happen.
“I saw Roman on pre-season last year and it was big smiles and not cuddles but welcomes and handshakes.”
Read our Chelsea live blog for the very latest news from the Bridge
Director Marina Granovskaia handled the negotiations which saw Lampard return to Stamford Bridge last year[/caption]
Abramovich made a rare appearance at a live Chelsea game for the victory over Krasnador in Russia last month[/caption]
Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003 and has bank-rolled the most successful period in the club’s history[/caption]