Steven Gerrard has announced that he is to retire from playing football.
The Liverpool legend has called time on a distinguished 18-year playing career after he confirmed that he would be leaving former club LA Galaxy after his contract expired with the MLS side.
In a statement published by the Liverpool Echo, Gerrard explained the reasons behind his decision to hang up his boots for the final time.
He wrote: “Following recent media speculation surrounding my future I can confirm my retirement from playing professional football. I have had an incredible career and am thankful for each and every moment of my time at Liverpool, England and LA Galaxy.
“As a teenager I fulfilled my childhood dream by pulling on the famous red shirt of Liverpool, and when I made my debut against Blackburn Rovers in November 1998 I could never have imagined what would then follow over the next 18 years.
“I feel lucky to have experienced so many wonderful highlights over the course of my career. 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. I feel very fortunate to have had the career I’ve had but none of it would have been possible without the support of so many people.
“Firstly, I would like to thank everyone at Liverpool Football Club. I am proud to have played for and captained Liverpool for so many years and to have achieved what we achieved during my time at the club.
“I was lucky to play alongside some great players and under some fantastic managers during my time at Anfield and would like to thank each and every one of them, as well as all of the backroom staff at the club throughout my time there for the fantastic support they showed me. I would like to say a special thank you to Steve Heighway, Dave Shannon and Hugh McAuley for believing in me when I was making my way at Liverpool and for giving me the platform to go on and fulfil my dreams.
“Thank you to the amazing fans of Liverpool, England and LA Galaxy for the incredible backing you have given me throughout my career. Your loyalty and support has meant the world.
“I would like to thank Struan Marshall, my agent throughout my career, and the team at Wasserman for all of their support over the past 18 years.
“Away from football, I feel lucky to have had such a close group of friends that I have always been able to count and rely on throughout the course of my career. Thank you to all of you.
“Finally, the most important thank you; to my family. I cannot thank my Mum, Dad and brother Paul enough for their unconditional support over the years, it has meant everything to me.
“To my wife Alex and children Lily, Lexie and Lourdes, thank you for the constant love and support you’ve shown me. You’ve been there throughout both the good times and the bad and without you nothing would have been possible. Thank you for everything.
“I am excited about the future and feel I still have a lot to offer the game, in whatever capacity that may be. 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.”
Gerrard won 11 trophies during his time with Liverpool, including the 2005 Champions League, two FA Cups and three League Cups, and amassed almost 700 appearances for the Reds during his 17-year career at Anfield.
He departed for the USA in the summer of 2015 after his contract ran down under then manager Brendan Rodgers, and featured 39 times for Galaxy during his 18-month spell across the Atlantic.
An England international for 14 years, Gerrard earned 114 caps for the Three Lions, as well as turning out at four World Cups and three European Championships.