Lampard touched by name tribute

02 June 2013 09:16

Frank Lampard admits he was honoured to hear that a Brazilian football fan named his young son after the Chelsea midfielder.

Four members of the England squad, manager Roy Hodgson and his backroom staff all visited a Sport Relief funded project in a poor part of Rio de Janeiro ahead of Sunday's game against Brazil.

Those who took part in the visit to the Bola Pra Frente project - a scheme designed to help lift deprived youngsters out of poverty through football - were humbled by the experience and they also got an unexpected surprise from a local man who had brought his young son to watch the players enjoy a kickabout with the participants in the project.

It transpired that the man had named his son after a person he regards as one of the greats of the game - not Pele, nor Zico, but Lampard. The Chelsea midfielder was not part of the visit so he did not have a chance to meet young Leandro Lampard, but he was humbled to hear the story.

"I wasn't there unfortunately, but I did hear about it," Lampard said. "I would like to meet the father and the kid because it's an honour. It would be an honour if someone from London did that, but for someone from Brazil to do it. what can you say to that?"

The man's love for Lampard was clear. Not only had he named his son after the 34-year-old, but his car was plastered with huge Chelsea stickers. Lampard himself seems to have fallen in love with Brazil somewhat. Not only was he humbled by the gesture at the project, but he has also enjoyed taking in the sights of this breathtaking city.

The Chelsea man, who will skipper England against Brazil, enjoyed a stroll with the squad down the Copacabana beach on Thursday morning and on Saturday went to have a look at the huge Christ the Redeemer statue that overlooks the city.

The perfect ending to his first trip to Brazil would be to come away with a win against the Selecao in the Maracana.

"As a young English football fan growing up you look at famous stadiums like the Maracana, so it's an honour to play there," he said.

"I grew up hearing it had crowds of 125,000 people and everyone remembers the John Barnes goal there (in 1984). It is one of the homes of football and it will be an honour to lead the team out at the Maracana."

Source: PA