Former Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard has announced his retirement from professional football.
Gerrard had just finished a contract with the LA Galaxy in MLS, but he was unable to get them into the play-off finals, and it was announced he would be leaving the club.
He confirmed on Wednesday whilst working on BT Sport as a pundit that he had held talks with MK Dons over their managerial vacancy, but ultimately decided it was too early in his managerial career.
He has also been heavily linked with a return to Liverpool to join Jurgen Klopp’s coaching set-up, either with the first team or the academy.
“Following recent media speculation surrounding my future I can confirm my retirement from playing professional football,” Gerrard’s 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.
“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.