Football

Steven Gerrard is the last of his kind

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The date November 29, 1998 will be remembered in history as the day one of the greatest English midfielders graced the big stage in the world of football and well, the rest his history.

On that day, Liverpool gave an 18-year-old youngster his debut against Blackburn Rovers and from that moment he hasn't looked back.

Steven George Gerrard, a local boy from Whiston, Merseyside made 13 appearances in his debut season and his taste buds got even hungrier from that moment in time and can now be considered as one of if not Liverpool's greatest player of all time.

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That memorable night in Istanbul is perhaps the moment that defines this wonderful gem of a player and even more so the character of this personality.

Perhaps the greatest comeback of all time, the 34-year-old played the game of his life as he lifted his battered and bruised team from the jaws of defeat at the hand of legendary AC Milan team to the ecstasy of glory in the history of this noble and elite club.

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Istanbul

Liverpool was down 3-0 at half time against a Milan squad with legends of the game such as Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Nesta, Cafu, Andrea Pirlo, Clarence Seedorf, Kaka, Hernan Crespo and Andriy Shevchenko.

At the age of just 24 years, the former England skipper showed all the signs of a man 'not walking alone' with an attitude that says 'he'd rather die on the pitch than walk out hanging his head.'

He rose majestically and scored a header that kick-started the fight back, played his role in the Vladimir Smicer strike and burst into the penalty area to win a penalty which was converted on the rebound by Xabi Alonso.

By this point Milan must have felt as if the air in their lungs were knocked out of them as the lad who grew up as a Scouser and a fan of his club took centre stage and placed his name in Liverpool folklore. Rafael Benitez led Liverpool came out on top via a penalty shout-out and at that moment at such a young age, Gerrard was already a Liverpool legend.

Loyalty

However, his contribution to the club got even deeper as a selfless individual was revealed underneath this beast on the pitch. Knowing that he was central to everything that was associated with Liverpool, Gerrard refused numerous offers and lucrative deals from several of Europe's elite club to fight for the Kop. Clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and of course bitter rivals Manchester United all tried their best to persuade the 6ft midfielder to leave Anfield but failed miserably.

Surely he must have wanted to win the biggest and best trophies on offer but Gerrard knew that he was the heart, soul and spirit of the club and his presence was significant not just on the pitch but in the dressing room.

Playing for the Kop and bringing joy to all the fans were more important to the 2005 Champions League winner than anything else in football. Knowing he could earn a lot more elsewhere and win all the trophies he desired must have turned his head however, training at Melwood and leading out his club in front the Kop was something no other club could offer.

In an era where there is crazy and silly money being thrown around, it takes an extremely strong character and a loyal soul stay at a club where Champions League football is not guaranteed. Gerrard is perhaps the only player in the history of football that placed his club's ambitions above his and for that alone one must wonder how can Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers ever replace such a character.

His departure raises many questions that only time can answer but there is no doubt that Liverpool is losing its heart and soul which means the spirit that has been driving them for over a decade may have died.

Despite not lifting the Premier League trophy, Steven Gerrard will always be regarded as one of the best midfielders to ever play in the league and one of the best in Europe of his generation. His CV includes the Champions League, UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup, the League Cup and the FA Cup.

His 'slip' against Chelsea may have cost him the Premier League title, however all Liverpool fans will always hold him in high regards.

He ended his career on a bad note losing 6-1 to Stoke City but he scored a great goal and was given a wonderful ovation as the fans ensured their hero felt their appreciation because it was now their time to let him know that 'he will never walk alone.'

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Topics:
Football
Steven Gerrard
Liverpool

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