Widely regarded as the greatest player to ever play for Liverpool FC, Steven George Gerrard turned 35 yesterday. After 17 years, 710 appearances and 186 goals, Stevie G, as he is fondly called by his beloved Kopites all around the world, has decided to end his legendary saga at Liverpool and start a new chapter at LA Galaxy.
During his tenure at Liverpool, he has won a Champions League title, two FA Cups, three League Cups, and one UEFA Cup and two UEFA Super Cups. Known for his versatility and endurance, Gerrard has played much of his career as a central midfielder. He has also played as a right back, a right winger, attacking midfielder, second striker, and holding midfielder.
He made his debut in 1998, and broke into the first team in 2000. He succeeded Sami Hyypia as the captain of Liverpool FC in 2003. He made his debut for the England National Team in 2000, and has represented his country in the 2006, 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups, as well as the 2000, 2004 and 2012 European Championships. He is currently third in his country’s all time appearance list. He decided to end his international career in July, 2014, after having earned 114 caps for his country.
Considered to be one of the most talented players to play for England, he was awarded with the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year award, and also the Ballon d’Or Bronze award. Known for scoring in nail biting important pressure matches, he is the only player to have scored a goal in a Champions League final, FA Cup final, League Cup final, and UEFA Cup final. He has been named in the PFA Team of the Year a record eight times, the FIFA World XI and UEFA Team of the Year three times, the FWA Footballer of the Year in 2009, and the PFA Player’s Player of the Year in 2006.
Numbers and figures say a lot, but Steven Gerrard is much more than what the statistics and facts say. Known to score in high profile crunch matches, he is never the one to give up first. Having carried a depleted team on his shoulders for so many years after technical geniuses like Torres, Owen, Mascherano and Alonso left his side; he will forever be remembered by his fans as their King. Famous for his thundering role in creating goals, he is also known for his ability to score goals with precision with thunderous power from either of his feet. He is also an accurate and trust worthy penalty taker, one who doesn’t miss many chances to score a goal. He is known to possess amazing pace, stamina, vision, ball striking, and accuracy. He is also notable for his defensive attributes. He is highly regarded for his leadership, technical knowledge on the pitch, and never say die attitude.
To gain the respect of your peers and colleagues in one of the greatest achievement a person can have, and Gerrard has been ushered with laurels and praises all through his career, by his own teammates, and also his opponents. He was considered to be the best player in the planet by Zidane, a great legend himself. Kenny Dalglish, another Liverpool legend, considered himself to be lucky enough to see Gerrard play. His own teammates, be it from his club or his national team, have always looked up on him. Players like Xabi Alonso, Luis Suarez, Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling, and Fernando Torres consider him to be their inspiration and guiding light.
He might not be as talented as Lionel Messi or as strong and fast as Cristiano Ronaldo, but he is known to attack like a tiger and defend like a bull on the pitch. A man ready to die for his club, he never gave up on his team, he never gave up on his fans, who he considers to be his family, and he never gave up on the crest on his chest that reads Liverpool FC. Despite the fact that he’d be playing for LA Galaxy from July, 2015, the void left by him is too humongous for anyone to fill. No one can ever replace the legend, the captain, the saviour, the boy who bled red.
A thousand words are not enough to describe what he meant to Liverpool FC, and what Liverpool FC meant to him. He was their guarding angel, he was their King, and he made sure he was always there in the good and bad times of the club. Emotions run wild, and one can’t imagine Liverpool without Gerrard, and Gerrard without Liverpool. Thank you, Gerrard, for inspiring a million. Thank you for everything. You’ll never walk alone.