It is true. The sad day that all of Liverpool’s international fan base hoped would never come, has come.
Since he was 8 years old, Steven George Gerrard has worn no other uniform but the Red of his local club. Growing up in Meyerside, UK- Gerrard was the greatest story in the making from the first time he laced up his boots. He was selected to LFC’s Youth Academy before he turned 10- groomed in the shadows of Anfield, lost his cousin in the heartbreaking tragedy at the notorious Hillsborough Disaster in 1989, where 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death in a shameful display of Police & stadium negligence, and has rejected big offers from Chelsea, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and more than 1 of the Italian club giants to always remain a Red.
All of that changed on January 1st when he announced he would not be signing the 1 year deal LFC offered him at season’s end. It is the end of perhaps the greatest story that English soccer has ever had. The local boy who never forgot where he was from, playing for the city he was born in, and willing his people, and his team, to win every trophy available, save the coveted EPL Title, in 18 years.
In 2005 he cemented himself as a larger than life legend in flesh and bone for his heroics at the Champions League final against Italian mega-team AC Milan, chock full of superstars. When Milan went up 3-0 at the half, Stevie powered his side back to 3-3, and then took the 3-2 win in the penalty shootout. He has had more back from the dead moments than any other footballer on earth, in any jersey, ever, for most of his career. His very special relationship with the fans and team may never be seen again in the era of superstars changing big clubs every season on the hunt for more and more money. He represents a heart and loyalty that the world may not see again, in or out of just sports.
Like Derek Jeter, who retired in October of 2014- another legend and giant leaves the temple he may have not built brick by brick, but lifted heart by heart.
In 1998, Gerrard debuted for the Reds 1st team, and since then, many young fans have never seen another number patrol the midfield. He has Captained not only the Reds, but the English National Team in several World Cups, and has been named by so many of the star’s he’s played with as “the greatest team mate they have ever had”.
Where Stevie G goes from here is yet to be seen. Early reports from state side have him coming to the MLS- perhaps the LA Galaxy for a year or two like fellow British soccer star David Beckham several years ago. He has said on record he will not go to another EPL team, or any that may face off against his beloved Liverpool. That, friends, is what makes him rare. That’s what makes him legendary.
So, with half a season remaining still, we know the fate of our Captain already. Remember with every game, you are seeing the end of an era, with the likes of an icon that may not be seen in world football for years to come, if at all anymore. Gerrard represents more than his team, or his sport.
He represents heart, and loyalty, that the entire world should take inspiration from, and it will be sad to see him step off Anfield for the last time this May.