Former Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard has retired, ending a 19-year playing career.
Gerrard, 36, played 710 times for the Reds, winning eight major trophies, but joined MLS side LA Galaxy in 2015.
He is England’s fourth most-capped player with 114 appearances and captained the side at three of the six major tournaments he played at.
“I feel lucky to have experienced so many wonderful highlights over the course of my career,” said Gerrard.
“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.”
Gerrard had been linked to a job in management with MK Dons after announcing he would leave LA Galaxy, but said on Wednesday the opportunity came “too soon” for him.
Midfielder Gerrard was made Liverpool captain by Gerard Houllier in 2003 and led the side to the Champions League title in 2005, scoring the Reds’ first goal as they recovered from being 3-0 down at half-time to beat Italian giants AC Milan on penalties in the Istanbul final.
“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,” he added.
“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.”
While the Champions League success is surely the highlight of Gerrard’s Liverpool career, he also helped his boyhood club win two FA Cups, three League Cups, a Uefa Cup and a Uefa Super Cup.
“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,” he added.
“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 and England
Gerrard made his England debut against Ukraine in 2000 and scored his first international goal in a 5-1 win in Germany in a 2002 World Cup qualifier the following year.
He went on to make 114 appearances for the Three Lions, captaining his country at three major tournaments.
Fabio Capello was the first England manager to make Gerrard his captain in 2008, but it was not until 2010 that he took on the role on a more permanent basis when he stood in for the injured Rio Ferdinand at the 2010 World Cup.
Gerrard kept the captaincy for Euro 2012, the year in which he won his 100th England cap, before announcing his retirement from international duty after a group-stage exit at the 2014 World Cup