Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Steven Gerrard has revealed he could retire at the end of the 2016 MLS season.
The former England international, 35, joined the Galaxy on an 18-month Designated Player deal in the summer, but tallied just two goals and three assists in 14 league appearances in his debut season in America.
And on Wednesday, the Galaxy were knocked out of the MLS Cup after suffering a 3-2 away defeat to the Seattle Sounders and Gerrard is already looking forward to making amends next year.
“It could be my last season as a footballer. I certainly don’t want to feel like I’m feeling right now come next year,” Gerrard said.
“I’d love to go out on a high. It’s a long season and I only came here for the last four months, but I’ll certainly be better for the experience next year.”
Having failed to live up to unrealistic expectations in 2015, Gerrard has admitted that he was caught off guard by several different aspects of MLS, including altitude, humidity, and turf pitches.
“Going on the road, playing on turf, playing at altitude, playing in humidity, those are the hurdles that I’ve had to face over the last three months that I wasn’t aware of. Every away game has a different challenge,” added Gerrard.
“At home, we’ve got no problems because we’re very strong and we play well. We’ll always win more than we lose.
“For us to move forward next year and finish in the top two spots – and avoid games like [Seattle] – we’ve got to be better defensively and stop conceding on set-pieces and crosses.”
Now then, will the Galaxy bounce back next season? That will be largely dependent on whether Gerrard improves next season. After all, in 2015 it was quite apparent that Bruce Arena’s side were a better team without Gerrard on the pitch.
And as far as value, the Galaxy are not receiving much in exchange for Gerrard’s $6.3 million salary.
The 35-year-old midfielder is the fourth-highest paid player in MLS, but his production–as previosly noted–of two goals and three assists in 14 games is far from stellar; but his performances have been even worse.
If he does not, the club’s 2016 campaign will–in all likelihood–end in disappointment.
The same can also be said for New York City FC midfielder Frank Lampard, who is the MLS’ fifth-highest earner and managed three goals and one assist in 10 appearances for the league’s second-worst side in 2015.