Football career – same as life in a deeper simile – is defined by details.
It gets moulded by moments which shape it all in an unpredictable manner none of us can control. In case of the legendary Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard two of the career-shaping moments occurred with ten years taking them apart.
Thursday was an emotional day for all Liverpool supporters, the author of this article included.
Nineteen years after he had first stepped onto the football pitch, Liverpool’s long-serving captain Steven Gerrard has decided to call it quits on his football career.
After 710 games with the Reds and more than a year with the MLS side LA Galaxy, Gerrard has been in talks over a managerial role at MK Dons and linked to a move to Serie A giants Inter, but has intentionally decided to put an end to the media speculation by surprising the football community with his decision.
The 36-year-old legend steps down as the fourth most-capped player for England with 114 appearances, having captained the Three Lions at three of the six major tournaments he took part in.
Players, pundits and fans worldwide flocked to pay tribute to Liverpool legend, who will remain remembered as one of the most prominent figures in football history.
Naturally, there were those who fed their vanity on the decision as well.
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. 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 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. 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 through 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. 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.
With two FA Cup trophies in his cupboard to boast with, three Football League Cup titles and an FA Community Shield from 2006 next to his name, Steven Gerrard is a proud UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup and UEFA Champions League winner as well.
Gerrard’s legacy transcends the value of silverware he won and lifted in celebration since the England midfielder will remain remembered as a model professional, whose off-pitch incidents such as the 2007 low-speed collision in Southport and 2008 assault charges will not have stained his glorified football career.
A versatile midfield enforcer, best known for his destructive long-range shot and pin-point precise crosses, Steven Gerrard also remains one of the most remarkable hard-working box-to-box midfielders ever to play in England’s top tier.
The total of 120 goals and 99 league assists put him second in the goal-scoring midfielders list and third in assist makers, respectively.
Numbers which offer a more detailed insight into his 19-year-long impact also put Merseyside’s beloved son among one of Premier League’s best of the best.
The Premier League title remains Gerrard’s most elusive dream however, which in the most unfortunate choice of words slipped through his fingers back in 2014.
“This does not slip now!”, exuberantly shouted Steven Gerrard, issuing a rallying cry to his teammates after Liverpool’s victory over Manchester City back in 2014.
The Reds celebrated a 3-2 triumph at Anfield and Gerrard burst into tears as his beloved club edged toward winning the Premier League title after long 25 years.
The unfortunate choice of words backfired and returned to haunt Gerrard against Chelsea, when the Blues smashed and grabbed a 2-0 win after Liverpool captain infamously slipped and lost ball to Demba Ba, who memorably capitalised on his mistake.
The incredible career of a man who dedicated almost his entire professional football career to one club and one cause has in that eye-burning moment crushed to a detail that would go on to haunt Gerrard for good.
“It felt like a disaster happened in my life, that’s how bad it was”, Gerrard remembers.
If there is a moment that can ruin your life, then in Gerrard’s case it definitely is this particular one.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, however, there stands a glorious detail which should act as inspiration for young men all around the globe.
A miraculous nigh in the Champions League we should all go back to appreciate once more and let it erase all the stick Gerrard keeps receiving at the most delicate moment of announcing his retirement.
Let us do not allow one single slip ruin the magnitude of the achievement which occurred in 2005 in Istanbul, one that often gets lost on most of us.
Trailing 3-0 at half-time against the strong AC Milan side, led by great players in their peaks like Kaka, Crespo, Andrea Pirlo and Andriy Schevchenko, Liverpool were expected to be thrown in the gutter on the night of the great UEFA Champions League final.
Steven Gerrard almost singlehandedly led his side through the elite tournament into the final and refused to go down without a fight however.
Liverpool’s comeback was started by Gerrard’s header, minutes before he won the penalty to get one closer to sealing the incredible comeback.
Having been ultimately slotted back in at right-back, the versatile midfielder helped his club endure until end and dispatch the hugely-favoured Milan on penalties. The game allowed 24-year-old Gerrard to become the second youngest European cup winning captain, carving his name in record books in a night that will stick in Liverpool fans’ hearts everywhere.
In the end, the only way to conclude the article on Steven Gerrard written by a faithful Liverpool fan is to go well beyond the clichéd deductions for a career filled with moments to cherish forever.
A career which should not be tarnished by one of those less fortunate moments that happen only to confirm a man and a player’s vulnerable human nature.