Steven Gerrard: Toughest decision of my life
London: Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard announced yesterday he was leaving the club at the end of the season and would be heading abroad, in what he said was the “toughest decision of my life”.
Steven Gerrard. Pic/Getty Images.
The 34-year-old midfielder has captained the Reds for 12 years and never played for another club, winning the Champions League, two FA Cups, three League Cups and the UEFA Cup among other honours.
“I’m going to carry on playing and although I can’t confirm at this stage where that will be, I can say it will be somewhere that means I won’t be playing for a competing club and will not therefore be lining up against Liverpool — that is something I could never contemplate,” Gerrard told the club’s official website.
Amid speculation that he might take a coaching role at Anfield in the future, the former England captain said: “It is my sincere hope and wish that one day I can return to serve Liverpool again, in whatever capacity best helps the club.” Manager Brendan Rodgers added: “This is an era where the word ‘legend’ is vastly overused, but in his case it actually doesn’t do him justice.
‘Legend in truest sense’
“As a leader and as a man, he is probably incomparable to anyone I have ever worked with. He takes professionalism to a new level and the dedication he has to his work is an example to everyone in the game.
Gerrard’s career at Liverpool, which began when he joined the club’s academy at the age of eight, had been the subject of speculation for several months. Despite his extraordinary achievements, he has also suffered agonising near-misses, never laying his hands on the Premier League trophy and enduring nothing but heartbreak in 14 years with England.
“This has been the toughest decision of my life and one which both me and my family have agonised over for a good deal of time,” he said. “I am making the announcement now so that the manager and the team are not distracted by stories or speculation about my future. Liverpool Football Club has been such a huge part of all our lives for so long and saying goodbye is going to be difficult.”
8: Steven Gerrard’s age when he joined Liverpool
695: Number of first-team appearances for the Reds
180: The number of goals Gerrard has scored for Liverpool
Gerro’s Big show
Gerrard’s greatest moment came when he scored in the 2005 Champions League final and inspired Liverpool to come from 0-3 down at half-time against AC Milan to win the trophy on penalties.