London - Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard on Thursday welcomed speculation linking former manager Jose Mourinho with a return to Stamford Bridge and said it would be a positive move for the club.
Lampard was one of Mourinho's key players during the Portuguese coach's three-year spell at Chelsea, which came to an abrupt end in September 2007 when the manager left the club.
With Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez due to leave at the end of the season, Mourinho has been strongly linked with a return from Real Madrid, and Lampard says he would welcome the sight of his old mentor back at the club.
"I think it would be a great thing for the club," said the England midfielder. "He is a successful manager and he would be a great thing for any club.
"It's hard to comment with the season still ongoing and with the manager not here or chosen yet. It would be easy to speculate.
"I have seen speculation before and a completely different manager walks through the door, so you never know on that front. But he is certainly one of the greatest if not the greatest manager in world football."
Lampard's own future remains unclear, as his contract is due to expire at the end of the season and the 34-year-old is yet to agree a new deal.
"I've always said that I wanted to spend all of my career here, so I think everyone knows that," Lampard said.
Asked if Mourinho's return would affect his case, he replied: "I honestly don't know. We have got two weeks that will decide whether our season has been a successful one or not. That is the main focus.
"Of course Jose Mourinho would be a great manager for any club to have, but I don't think it is right to talk about him while he is still Real Madrid manager."
Mourinho has also been linked with the managerial post at Manchester United, which will be vacated when legendary manager Alex Ferguson steps down at the end of the season, but Everton's David Moyes is the odds-on favourite to take up the role.
Lampard praised Ferguson's long career at Old Trafford, saying: "I have got nothing but admiration for him. I think he was, for the period of time he did it, the greatest.
"A lot of managers, the Jose Mourinhos of this world, are making a play for that and they have to do it as long as Fergie has.
"He has been incredible as a man that has run the club, his desire to get the best out of players, to keep evolving the team... What he has done is a complete one-off.
"We are competitive with Man United, we want to beat them and fans don't like them, but with Alex Ferguson, maybe you have to look up and say what a great man and manager he is."