Frank Lampard insisted Champions League glory should not spell the end of an era at Chelsea after finally getting his hands on the biggest prize in club football.
Lampard and the rest of the Blues' so-called 'old guard' defied the critics once again on Saturday night with another epic backs-to-the-wall victory in the final against Bayern Munich. The match was billed as a last hurrah for the likes of Lampard and matchwinner Didier Drogba amid speculation of a mass clearout at Stamford Bridge.
But Lampard claimed there was no reason why the triumph should herald a break-up of the squad that have been together for most of the past decade. "Teams are always changing, but why should we stop now?" said Lampard, the first man to captain Chelsea to the Champions League.
"We want to carry on, move forwards. We've won the FA Cup and now the Champions League and the determination and spirit we have shown, it's been fantastic."
Lampard's days at Chelsea looked numbered three months ago after a falling out with then manager Andre Villas-Boas, who appeared determined to phase out their older players.
Caretaker boss Roberto Di Matteo's decision to embrace them paid off spectacularly as they delivered the greatest moment in the club's history.
Lampard said: "The key players have been there a long time and we want to win, we are determined to win, in the dressing room we have a tough group.
"We struggled earlier in the season, confidence was low, but there is a real determination here, and when times are hard, we dig in. If you had asked me three months ago if we would win this competition, I would have laughed. But we have done."
Lampard, part of the previous eight failed attempts to win the Champions League, added: "It's the best footballing night of my life - the hour we spent on the pitch with the fans afterwards.
"I've been here 11 years and I've been waiting for this baby for a long time. I'm pleased we haven't won it before, because it feels even more special. That might sound stupid but, to wait so long and to do it the way we did with the season we've had, the spirit in the team - amazing."