Steven Gerrard is poised to leave Liverpool when his contract expires at the end of the season.
The Liverpool captain has decided he will not sign a new deal with his boyhood club and is said to be considering offers by Major League Soccer teams LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls.
The player had been in contract talks since the summer. Manager Brendan Rodgers was keen on keeping Gerrard and had offered the 34-year-old a new contract. He even raised the prospect of a coaching role but the player is determined to leave.
Speaking about his move, the player said: “This has been the toughest decision of my life and one which both me and my family have agonised over for a good deal of time.
“I am making the announcement now so that the manager and the team are not distracted by stories or speculation about my future.
“Liverpool Football Club has been such a huge part of all our lives for so long and saying goodbye is going to be difficult, but I feel it’s something that’s in the best interests of all involved, including my family and the club itself.
“I’m going to carry on playing and although I can’t confirm at this stage where that will be, I can say it will be somewhere that means I won’t be playing for a competing club and will not therefore be lining up against Liverpool – that is something I could never contemplate.”
Gerrard joined the Anfield club as a nine-year-old trainee and made his way up through the ranks before making his debut in November 1998.
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
Sad day for Lfc & English football with the Gerrard news, I think it's the right decision all things considered.— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) January 1, 2015
The midfielder won the Champions League, two FA Cups, the Uefa Cup and three League Cups with the club. But crucially he missed out on winning the Premier League, most notably last season when the team finished second to Manchester City.
As an England player he won 114 caps and led his country at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups and Euro 2012.
The Match of the Day presenter and former England captain Gary Lineker tweeted: “One of the finest players to have graced the Premier League. A top, top player.”
While former team mate Jamie Carragher said it was a sad day for the club but the right decision.