After 17 seasons, 695 games and 180 goals, Steven Gerrard has announced he will play his final match for Liverpool Football Club when his contract expires this summer.
The 34-year-old Merseyside-born midfielder – who made his Liverpool debut in 1998 – released a statement, calling his move from the club “the toughest decision of my life”, and confirming he would not play for a competing side as “that is something I could never contemplate”.
“Liverpool Football Club has been such a huge part of all our lives for so long and saying goodbye is going to be difficult,” said Gerrard, “but I feel it’s something that’s in the best interests of all involved, including my family and the club itself.”
Clearly an emotional time for Gerrard, but also for former colleagues and his many supporters who took to Twitter in their droves to express their gratitude and upset at their esteemed captain’s impending departure.
There was pride…
A regular Roy of the Rovers. What a player. Steven Gerrard vies with King Kenny as Liverpool's greatest player
— Alan Smith (@9smudge) January 1, 2015
Steven Gerrard is the greatest player in Liverpool's history. Colossal contribution over 16 years.
— Richard Jolly (@RichJolly) January 1, 2015
My boyhood hero Steven gerrard is set to leave liverpool. I'm crushed ????
— Calum Hood (@Calum5SOS) January 1, 2015
— Johnny B (@JohnnyBEEVER) January 2, 2015
— Thyagu Alagendra (@Appatakker) January 2, 2015
— Christina (@retroshady) January 2, 2015
— !nsomn!a (@BoredomKiller_1) January 2, 2015
— Rick Edwards (@rickedwards1) January 2, 2015
Former colleagues tweeted their tributes to #CaptainFantastic:
— Peter Crouch (@petercrouch) January 1, 2015
An era comes to the end with SG leaving LFC. I think he made the right call. What a career,what a player.Thx for the many wonderful moments.
— Didi Hamann (@DietmarHamann) January 2, 2015
Hard for the Steven Gerrard news to sink in. Amazing servant to Liverpool, arguably the best of all time. http://t.co/KBEPL3caGh
— michael owen (@themichaelowen) January 2, 2015
It was an honour to get the chance to play alongside Steven Gerrard .. Will always be a legend. pic.twitter.com/sO9fSvODcL
— Jonjo Shelvey (@shelveyJ) January 2, 2015
lucky to have played with this guy, so level headed for someone with special talent, evry football fan will miss him pic.twitter.com/qzn6q3gxhS
— Martin Kelly (@MartinKelly1990) January 2, 2015
— Sami Hyypia (@SamiHyypia04) January 2, 2015
And the pundits weighed in with their verdicts on Stevie G’s departure.
Seems Steven Gerrard is set to leave Liverpool at the end of the season. One of the finest players to have graced the PL. A top, top player.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) January 1, 2015
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) January 1, 2015
When Kenny Dalglish retired as a Liverpool player plenty said no-one would come close to touching him as the club's greatest. Gerrard has.
— Phil McNulty (@philmcnulty) January 1, 2015
Some decided humour was the best remedy during this dark time…
BREAKING: Liverpool fans react to the news that Steven Gerrard will be leaving the club this Summer. pic.twitter.com/Wln9opbWtY
— SPORF (@Sporf) January 1, 2015
Steven Gerrard scored 2 goals today *Steven Gerrard leaves liverpool* pic.twitter.com/npo1CGLTen
— Jamie (@Bantertelli) January 2, 2015
Liverpool fans reacting to the news that Steven Gerrard will leave at the end of the season… pic.twitter.com/Ipil6NalLY
— TheLADbible Writers (@TLBWriters) January 1, 2015
Liverpool fans to Steven Gerrard ???? https://t.co/oiGvAeHOWh
— BettingOdds (@BettingOddsUK) January 1, 2015
While others were bewildered by Twitter’s fragile state:
The furore around Gerrard leaving is weird. Every player who has ever played with him putting pics up of them together. He hasn’t died.
— Paul Bannister (@PaulDBannister) January 2, 2015
Why is everyone going on as if Gerrard is retiring ffs he’s still gonna be playing no need to give it the ‘best I’ve played with’ just yet
— Karl Marshall (@KarlMarshall) January 2, 2015
But most of all, there was gratitude to one of Liverpool’s greatest ever players.
Steven Gerrard you're an absolute legend. Thanks for all the memories, you will always be my favourite player #LFCicon
— Anthony Chan (@anthony_chan12) January 2, 2015
— Anish (@nabbedkeita) January 2, 2015
thanks for everything Steven Gerard #Captainfantastic……PL loses a player worth over 690 games.
— #FuturePresident (@Barmedahley) January 2, 2015
— ???????????????? ???? (@RKidWM) January 2, 2015
— Matt (@NYCLFC_) January 2, 2015