Liverpool, England (SportsNetwork.com) - Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard confirmed on Friday he will leave the club at the conclusion of the 2014-15 season.
Gerrard, 34, has been the face of Liverpool Football Club during a glittering career on Merseyside which spanned 17 years and included 695 appearances and 180 goals.
A native of Liverpool, he joined the club's youth academy at 8 years of age, made his first-team debut in 1998 and went on to win two FA Cups, three League Cups, one UEFA Cup, one UEFA Super Cup, and, famously, the 2004-05 UEFA Champions League title in which he led the Reds back from a 3-0 second-half deficit to win in a penalty shootout.
Gerrard's contract with Liverpool will expire at the end of the season, but no decision has been made on a future destination, but he has said that he will continue his career outside of the U.K. and will not move to a club which could be in direct competition with Liverpool.
"This has been the toughest decision of my life and one which both me and my family have agonized over for a good deal of time," Gerrard said. "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.
My decision is completely based on my wish to experience something different in my career and life and I also want to make sure that I have no regrets when my playing career is eventually over.
"My final message is for the people who make Liverpool Football Club the greatest in the world - the supporters.
"It has been a privilege to represent you, as a player and as captain. I have cherished every second of it and it is my sincere wish to finish this season and my Liverpool career on a high."
Gerrard scored a pair of penalties on Thursday to held the Reds earn a 2-2 draw against Leicester City at Anfield. The club currently sits in eighth place in the Premier League with 29 points, seven behind Southampton for the final Champions League place.
"It is almost an impossible task to find the words to appropriately sum up Steven Gerrard and his importance to Liverpool," added manager Brendan Rodgers. "This is an era where the word 'legend' is vastly overused, but in his case it actually doesn't do him justice."