Former Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard has announced his retirement from professional football.
The 36-year-old revealed this month he would not remain at Major League Soccer franchise LA Galaxy beyond the expiry of his contract at the end of the 2016 season.
The midfielder, who swapped Anfield for the StubHub Center in 2015, has been linked with a variety of clubs and management roles since the news of his impending departure from the United States.
And the Champions League and FA Cup winner has now confirmed he will not seek another playing role.
212 – Steven Gerrard had a hand in 212 Premier League goals for Liverpool (120 goals, 92 assists). Respect. pic.twitter.com/KfU02TsQIa
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 24, 2016
“Following recent media speculation surrounding my future I can confirm my retirement from playing professional football,” he said in a widely circulated statement.
“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 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.”
He featured in the Reds’ memorable treble of League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup in 2000-01, winning the League Cup again in 2002-03 and then replacing Sami Hyypia as the club’s captain in October 2003.
Gerrard will be fondly remembered for his role in guiding Liverpool to the final of the Champions League against AC Milan in 2005, helping to orchestrate a remarkable comeback from 3-0 down at half-time to draw 3-3 and then win on penalties.
He scored twice, including a long-range equaliser in injury time, as Liverpool beat West Ham in a shootout after another 3-3 draw in the 2005-06 FA Cup final. Just one more major trophy followed, the 2011-12 League Cup under Kenny Dalglish.
Gerrard may well be haunted by the memory of a slip to give away a goal in a 2-1 home defeat to Chelsea in 2013-14, a mistake and a result that led an exciting team managed by Brendan Rodgers to miss out on the club’s best chance to win the Premier League during the crowd favourite’s Merseyside career.
Liverpool and Gerrard also finished second, four points behind Manchester United, with Rafael Benitez at the helm in 2008-09.
Gerrard largely endured disappointment on the international stage, reaching the knockout stages of the European Championship in 2004 and 2012 and the World Cup in 2006 and 2010 without advancing to a final.
He captained the team to a group-stage exit from the most recent World Cup, calling time on his international career in July 2014 after England’s swift return from Brazil.