Departing Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has pledged to return to the club because he feels he has a contribution to make in the future.
The 34-year-old is currently enjoying a post-season break, with a video going online yesterday of Gerrard leading his Liverpool team-mates in a boisterous rendition of the Toure brothers chant during their trip to Dubai, before he begins a new challenge in Major League Soccer with Los Angeles Galaxy this summer.
But after 710 appearances in a 17-year professional career – and an association dating back to when he was eight – Gerrard has his sights set on coming back.
“I’ve been a supporter all my life and that will continue,” he wrote in an open letter to fans.
“I hope to get the opportunity to come back and serve the club again one day. I feel that I can make a contribution in some role in the future.”
Gerrard has been captain for over a decade and led from the front in most of the club’s recent successes, most famously the comeback against AC Milan to win the Champions League in 2005.
However, last season he did not feature as regularly as he would have liked and that persuaded him a move to the United States would help prolong his playing career despite a contract offer coming in late from the Reds.
“I want to keep playing every week in the final few years of my career and I’m looking forward to embarking on a new challenge with Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS,” he added.
“It’s been an absolute privilege to represent this football club for so long. It’s been very humbling and it’s something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. It’s been a massive honour to be captain of this club for so long.
“I’ve always given my best and tried to lead by example.
“But today is all about looking back and saying thank you to the fans for the magnificent support you have given me over the past two decades.
“You have helped me to fulfil my dreams over and over again.”
Another Liverpool player, Mario Balotelli, who is not held in the same regard as Gerrard by the fans, will remain at the club next season, according to his agent Mino Raiola.
The Italy international’s first season after a £16m move from AC Milan was a flop with just four goals – only one in the Premier League – and he was top of a list of names the club reportedly wanted to offload this summer.
However, Raiola insists the 24-year-old is staying where he is.
“We have talks with Liverpool and he will stay,” he said.
Asked whether the striker and manager Brendan Rodgers had adapted to each other over the course of the season, Raiola added: “I think Mario did, I cannot talk for Brendan Rodgers. Obviously we’re pretty confident it’ll happen next year.”