Steven Gerrard is considered by many fans, pundits, and fellow players as one of the greatest players of all-time. He announced his retirement from football on November 24, Thursday, ending his 18-year career at the age of 36.
“I feel lucky to have experienced so many wonderful highlights over the course of my career. I have had an incredible career and am thankful for each and every moment of my time at Liverpool, England, and LA Galaxy. I fulfilled my childhood dream by pulling on the famous red shirt of Liverpool,” Gerrard said in a statement, via The Guardian.
The former Liverpool and England captain had many ups and downs throughout his career. However, he is a proven winner and his career has so many great moments. Here are SportsRageous’ top five greatest moments in the career of Steven Gerrard.
The Merseyside Hat-Trick (March 13, 2012)
At the age of 32, many people criticized Steven Gerrard for being past his prime. Liverpool was having a bad season at this point as they faced rivals Everton in the Merseyside Derby at Anfield.
But Gerrard silenced his critics by scoring the first Merseyside hat-trick since 1982. The win was even sweeter because Everton came into the game with a ten match unbeaten streak. It was the highlight of a disappointing season by Liverpool.
First goal for England against Germany (September 1, 2001)
Steven Gerrard was part of England’s “Golden Generation” that has underwhelmed in the world stage. However, Gerrard introduced himself to the world in just his sixth game for his country against Germany in a 5-1 win.
He was just 21 years old back then when he scored his first goal for England. The Three Lions went on to have 21-game unbeaten streak during Gerard’s first 21 appearances. He ended his international career as England’s fourth most-capped player with 114.
Last-minute goal versus Olympiacos (December 8, 2004)
Liverpool entered this game against Olympiacos needing a two-goal win to advance to the Champions League knockout stages. Rivaldo gave the Greek side a 1-0 first half lead in Anfield as the Reds faced an embarrassing exit in Europe’s biggest stage.
However, Steven Gerrard sparked the epic comeback in the second half. Florent Sinama Pongolle and Neil Mellor each scored for Liverpool to make it dramatic. In the 86th minute, Gerrard scored just outside the penalty area to give the Reds a 3-1 win and a ticket to the Champions League knockout stage.
“The Gerrard Final” (May 13, 2006)
The Reds faced West Ham in the 2006 FA Cup Final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in what is now called “The Gerrard Final.” West Ham had a 2-0 lead before Steven Gerrard sparked another comeback. His pass to Djibril Cisse cut the deficit to one before The Hammers made it 3-1.
Gerrard, however, scored two goals to force extra time. The game-tying shot was struck from long range and it was just pure magic from the Liverpool captain. The match went into penalty shootout and who else scored the game-winning penalty, Steven Gerrard.
Lifting the Champions League trophy in “Miracle of Istanbul” (May 23, 2005)
As mentioned earlier, Steven Gerrard helped Liverpool make it to the Champions League knockout stages. The Reds then went on to beat Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus, and Chelsea to reach the final where they faced off against a powerhouse AC Milan team.
In what is now called “Miracle of Istanbul,” Milan was up 3-0 at halftime. However, Gerrard rallied his teammates to tie the game in just six minutes into the second half. He scored the team’s first goal that sparked the comeback.
Gerrard’s play as a right back during the match was very vital. The game went into penalty shootout wherein Liverpool prevailed to win the club’s first Champions League trophy in 21 years. Steven Gerrard, who lifted the cup, called it “the best moment of my life.”
Photo Courtesy: Football Wallpapers/Flickr