LONDON • Steven Gerrard, who retired from professional football yesterday, will be remembered almost as much for his agonising near misses as for his extraordinary achievements.
The 36-year-old spent 17 years at his hometown club Liverpool - 12 as captain - and won seven major honours including the 2005 Champions League before finishing his career with an 18-month stint at the Los Angeles Galaxy.
"Following recent media speculation surrounding my future, I can confirm my retirement from playing professional football," he 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."
Although he also won two FA Cups, three League Cups and the Uefa Cup, he never laid his hands on the Premier League trophy and met with nothing but heartbreak in his 14-year England career.
Steven Gerrard factfile
•Liverpool (1998-2015) Appearances: 710. Goals: 186.
•LA Galaxy (2015-2016) Appearances: 38. Goals: 5.
•FA Cup (2): 2000-01, 2005-06
•League Cup (3): 2000-01, 2002-03, 2011-12
•FA Community Shield (1): 2006
•Uefa Champions League (1): 2004-05
•Uefa Cup (1): 2000-01
•Uefa Super Cup (1): 2001
•England (2000-2014) Appearances: 114. Goals: 21.
He left Liverpool last year after a 12-month period that reflected the latter years of his career in a microcosm - glorious opportunity, followed by crushing disappointment.
Gerrard was poised to capture his first Premier League crown in 2014, but his cruel slip during a loss to Chelsea at an expectant Anfield tilted the momentum of the title race in Manchester City's favour.
Weeks later, Gerrard went to Brazil hoping to salve his wounds at the World Cup, only for England to crash out after two matches in what would prove his final international tournament.
He finished his career with a sun-kissed stint at Galaxy, following in the footsteps of former England colleague David Beckham.
But in his club career - which began when he walked through the doors of Liverpool's academy at the age of eight - he scaled nearly every summit.
From the header that sparked the comeback against Milan in Istanbul to the jaw-dropping 35-metre thunderbolt against West Ham United that took the 2006 FA Cup final to extra time, Gerrard swaggered through his Anfield career with the audacity of a comic-book hero.
He came third in the voting for the Ballon d'Or in 2005 and was voted the greatest player in Liverpool's history by fans in a 2013 poll.
He left Anfield as Liverpool's third-highest appearance-maker at 710, behind only Ian Callaghan (857) and Jamie Carragher (737), and with a claim to the title of the club's greatest-ever player that only Kenny Dalglish can contest.
Gerrard also scored 186 goals during his time with Liverpool.
"I am excited about the future and feel I still have a lot to offer the game, in whatever capacity that may be," he added in the statement that said he would consider a number of options.
He has in recent weeks been linked with a return to Anfield in a coaching capacity and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp refused to rule out that possibility.
"The door is always open. If he wants, I'm sure he will, and if he wants to make career (in coaching) then we want to help him," the German said.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS