London: Former Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard announced his retirement from professional football on Thursday at the age of 36, calling time on an emblematic career.
Gerrard spent 17 years at his hometown club Liverpool, 12 as captain, and won seven major honours including the 2005 Champions League before finishing his career with an 18-month stint at LA Galaxy.
“Following recent media speculation surrounding my future, I can confirm my retirement from playing professional football,” Gerrard said in a statement.
“I have had an incredible career and am thankful for each and every moment of my time at Liverpool, England and LA Galaxy.”
Although the Premier League title famously eluded him, Gerrard did win two FA Cups, three League Cups, the Uefa Cup, Uefa Super Cup and the Community Shield.
His finest hour came in Istanbul in May 2005, when he inspired Liverpool to come from 3-0 down, scoring the first, against AC Milan at half-time of the Champions League final to win the club’s fifth European Cup.
In total he made 710 appearances for Liverpool, the third-highest total behind Ian Callaghan and former teammate Jamie Carragher, scoring 186 goals.
Gerrard made 114 appearances for England, a tally bettered only by Peter Shilton, Wayne Rooney and David Beckham, and scored 21 international goals.
He appeared at six major tournaments, captaining England at the 2010 World Cup, Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup.
“I feel lucky to have experienced so many wonderful highlights over the course of my career,” Gerrard said.
“I am proud to have played over 700 games for Liverpool, many of which as captain, and to have played my part in helping the club to bring major honours back to Anfield, none more so than that famous night in Istanbul.
“At an international level, I feel privileged to have won 114 England caps and to have had the honour of captaining my country. I will always look back with great pride at every time I pulled on the England shirt.”
Gerrard has been linked with a coaching role at Liverpool, as well as Celtic and Newcastle United, where former Liverpool managers Brendan Rodgers and Rafael Benitez respectively work.
He is reported to have turned down an approach from English third-tier side Milton Keynes Dons and said he would take his time before announcing his next move.
“I am excited about the future and feel I still have a lot to offer the game, in whatever capacity that may be,” he said.
“I am currently taking my time to consider a number of options and will make an announcement with regards to the next stage of my career very soon.”
Tributes to Gerrard were quick to flow and emphatic in their praise.
Liverpool’s official Twitter account simply tweeted: “Legend.”
Former England player Alan Shearer said: “Good luck for the future. Will rightly be remembered as a great of the game.”
While former Liverpool teammate Pepe Reina said it was “an honour to play alongside you, amigo. Always an example on and off the pitch! Great moments together! THANKS FOR EVERYTHING LEGEND!”
Carragher said that it was now time for Gerrard to join him as a television pundit.
Factfile on former Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard, who announced his retirement on Thursday:
Name: Steven George Gerrard
Birthplace: Whiston, Merseyside, England
LA Galaxy (2015-2016)
Debut: May 31, 2000 v Ukraine
FA Cup (2): 2000-01, 2005-06
League Cup (3): 2000-01, 2002-03, 2011-12
FA Community Shield (1): 2006
UEFA Champions League (1): 2004-05
UEFA Cup (1): 2000-01
UEFA Super Cup (1): 2001
Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Players’ Player of the Year (1): 2006
PFA Young Player of the Year (1): 2001
Football Writers’ Association (FWA) Footballer of the Year (1): 2009
UEFA Club Footballer of the Year (1): 2005