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Captain fantastic Steven Gerrard will call time on his glorious 17-year career at his beloved Liverpool during the end of the season, and the Anfield faithful are yet to come to grips with the prospect of bidding their hero farewell—they perhaps never will.
In an age where footballers are ludicrously elevated to a pedestal by the fans and the media, it is easy to get carried away in praise of a player. However, Steven Gerrard is an exception who undoubtedly deserves all the plaudits that come his way.
For Liverpool fans, the great Kenny Dalglish is ‘King’, Tommy Smith is ‘the Tank’ and Robbie Fowler ‘God’ himself, but arguably Gerrard is all that and so much more.
A lion-hearted midfield general and a leader who could inspire just through his mere presence, Gerrard was the heartbeat of the club and represented not only himself, but the entire city, every time he stepped out on the pitch; as for the Scousers—he was one of their own.
The passion, commitment and sacrifice displayed by Gerrard during his 17 years at Liverpool was nothing short of superhuman, and even Captain America or Superman would have been a tad envious at witnessing the heroics he performed at Istanbul and the Millennium Stadium.
It was back in November 29, 1998, that the future Liverpool icon went on to make his debut for the Reds after coming on in the 89th minute as a replacement for Vegard Heggem against Blackburn Rovers.
Rather than bursting into the scene, Gerrard’s start to life at Liverpool was a tentative one, and having been suddenly pushed into the same limelight as superstars such as Robbie Fowler, Paul Ince and Steve McManaman, self doubt had crept into the midfielder’s mind initially.
Even the Kop faithful who would later adore him were skeptical regarding whether a skinny lad whom they had never even heard of was good enough to represent their famous club.
Recalling his debut, Gerrard said, “All the subs were applauded when Gerard Houllier (former Liverpool manager) sent us to warm up. Well, nearly all. When I ran towards The Kop I could almost hear them saying: ‘Who’s this skinny little tw*t?”
Having been handed such a wonderful opportunity to represent his boyhood club, though, Gerrard most certainly was never going to squander it and the midfielder played every game as it were his last—a hallmark of his mentality, which was exhibited whenever he pulled on the famous Red jersey of Liverpool, and one which saw him rise from a local boy to the pride of the whole city.
There is no standard barometer to measure greatness and usually people equate the number of medals won by a player as the guide to gauge their success. For Gerrard, though, his greatness is not merely limited to the number of trophies he lifted throughout his career. – Sarad Bade Shrestha. Read More…