Steven Gerrard has revealed in an exclusive interview that he regrets never having played under Jose Mourinho during his career, and concedes that he still haunted by THAT slip two seasons ago, which contributed to Liverpool missing out on winning their first league title in 24 years.
Steven Gerrard was speaking to Rio Ferdinand as part of ‘Rio Meets Steven Gerrard’ which aired on BT Sport 1 on Wednesday. Covering a variety of topics regarding his time spent at Liverpool, the most revealing statement came when Gerrard was asked his about his thoughts upon rejecting a move to Chelsea earlier in his career.
TURNING DOWN CHELSEA
After winning the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005, Gerrard was the source of much speculation over the summer that ensued as Jose Mourinho's widely reported interest in bringing the midfielder to Chelsea came to the fore.
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When asked if he housed any regrets about never having left Liverpool, Gerrard revealed that although he wishes he had played under Mourinho, he doesn't feel winning more potential trophies at Chelsea would have enticed him to leave Anfield.
"I have regrets for not playing for the man and the coach because I know he would have made me a better player. I know he would have had more trophies to what I’ve already won. But looking back now I have no regrets not signing for Chelsea. I don’t regret it at all," he said.
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"I’m happy with the decisions I made. The connection I’ve got with Liverpool, my home town club. I’ve probably underachieved at times in certain years with Liverpool but for me it is not all about winning trophies. It’s also about memories and love and what those memories meant. Winning four or five trophies with Liverpool means an awful lot more than winning 10 or 11 with Chelsea."
DECISION TO LEAVE
Despite remaining loyal to Liverpool when offers to play elsewhere repeatedly arrived his way, Gerrard called an end to his time at Anfield, announcing that the season just gone would be his last with the Merseyside outfit.
Set to play for MLS side LA Galaxy next season, Gerrard revealed the instance which led him to decide to end his 26-year association with Liverpool.
Although at 35-years-old he wouldn't have expected to play in every game, his disappointment at missing out the Champions League group game against Real madrid in the Bernabeu last November was enough to confirm that it was time to seek out a new challenge.
"This was round about the time when I was doing a lot of thinking about what’s next for me because I’d had a couple of initial chats with Brendan saying to me I’m going to start managing your games and I have to look after you and I want you to be fresh and I don’t want you to be playing three games in a week because you may be tired and stuff like that.
"When I was told I wasn’t playing for the sake of the team and the squad and my relationship with Brendan I took it and I accepted it. But I sat on that bench devastated because I wanted to play so, it is one of those situations. It sort of pushed me making a decision to move on and try something different."
One question that former Manchester United defender Ferdinand couldn't resist putting to Gerrard concerned his feelings about losing out in the title race to Manchester City in 2013-14 when Liverpool had been agonisingly close to winning their first Premier League trophy before eventually slipping up against Chelsea and Crystal Palace.
Paying particular attention to his individual error, that infamous slip against Chelsea which left Demba Ba free to run at goal and secure a win for the blues, Gerrard identified that he is still haunted by that moment but points to his successes at the club as reason to not be too disconcerted.
"I think to myself if I’d have got that league it would have been the icing on the cake. But what helps me with it is that I’ve got the cake. I’ve achieved a lot of dreams with a team that has never ever been the favourite. I've got memories, good memories that will live with me forever but that is one moment will always hurt me until the day I go and it’s because if I’d have got that moment, I’d have achieved every dream with Liverpool. And as a man it hurts.
"I’m not scared of any criticism or any cruelty I understand the moment and impact it had it kills me, don’t get me wrong, inside it kills me and it will do for a long time.Dropped for Madrid".
Watch ‘Rio Meets Steven Gerrard’ on BT Sport 1 from 10pm Wednesday 24th June. BT Sport is the new home of European football, with all UEFA Champions League & UEFA Europa League exclusively live. Visit btsport.com/Europe for more information.