22 November 2013

Tributes paid to Steven Gerrard

What's there to say about Steven Gerrard that hasn't already been said a gazillion times before?  Over the years, his power, his ball control and long passes, his tenaciousness and tirelessness, his eye for goal, his loyalty, his humility and - probably more than anything else - his true grit have been admired and praised literally to the point of death.  Indeed, few (if any) would argue that the England and Liverpool skipper's influence on the game over the past decade and a half makes him one of the few exceptions to the saying that no one is indispensable.
Gerrard has a welcome knack of rising to the occasion when the stakes are high - the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final and the 2006 FA Cup Final, for instance; a big game player, if you will - and, save for the Premiership Trophy and the World Cup, has won everything club and world football have to offer.  Today at 33, he still hungers for both and continues to play week in, week out like there's no tomorrow.  Such is his dedication and commitment to the cause of both club and country.

Since breaking into Liverpool's first team in November 1998, aged 18, by coming on as a substitute against Blackburn Rovers, Gerrard's courage, confidence and, above all, consistency have lifted him from the shadows of scarcity to become captain of both Liverpool as well as England - making 643 appearances for club and earning 108 caps for country as I write.  During that time, he has crossed paths with some of the biggest names in world football (including opposition managers and players) who have showered him with praises and described him as one of the best footballers in the world - in some cases, even THE best player to have ever worn the famous red shirt of Liverpool Football Club.  Here are some of the things that have been said of Steven Gerrard.

JAMIE CARRAGHER (former teammate):  "Stevie G is the greatest player in Anfield history.  It's been great for me to play alongside him - not just because of the amount games he has played - but the quality of those games as well."

ZINEDINE ZIDANE (former Real Madrid midfielder and France international):  "Is he the best in the world?  He might not get the attention of Messi and Ronaldo, but yes, I think he just might be.  If you don't have a player like him who is the engine room, it can affect the whole team; and no team will be successful without a heartbeat and you can see Gerrard is the heartbeat.  Most importantly he gives the players around him confidence and belief.  You can’t learn that; players like him are just born with that presence."

GERARD HOULLIER (former Liverpool manager):  "Steven Gerrard is Liverpool Football Club because he brings something to the team in terms of quality."

DAVID THOMPSON (former Liverpool player):  "I think he's No. 1, to be honest.  What he has achieved at this level, I would definitely put him up there.  If there are any young lads at Liverpool looking to have mental strength and loyalty, you look no further than Stevie G".

GRAHAM TAYLOR (former England manager):  "He is, in my opinion, the best midfielder in the world, and has a track record for delivering on the big occasions."

KAKA (AC Milan forward and Brazil international):  "He is a modern player because he is a player who runs, marks, knows how to pass, cross, score goals and he is a leader on the field.  So he is a player that I would like to have in my team."

PELE (former Brazil international and footballing legend, in 2009):  "To me he is one of the super best midfielders in the world.  He is an excellent player.  For me, for the last five years Gerrard has been the best player in the world."

CARLO ANCELOTTI (manager of Paris Saint-Germain):  "He is undoubtedly one of the best midfield players in the world; an excellent player."

DANIELLE DE ROSSI (AS Roma midfielder and Italy international):  "Gerrard has been my idol for 10 years and is one of the best players in the world.  He is the example of what all midfield players aspire to become.  I would love to be close to that level.".

YOHAN CABAYE (Newcastle midfielder and France international):  "For me, he's the best player.  He's still excellent.  I came to England to test myself against the best player like Gerrard."

RICKY HATTON (British boxer):  "Every club in the Premier League would like to have seen Steven Gerrard in their shirt."

JAMIE REDKNAPP (former Liverpool captain and England international):  "He will go down as one of the greats; no two ways about it."

HARRY KEWELL (Melbourne Heart midfielder and former teammate):  "Stevie is one of those players who is a leader.  He always gives players inspiration to go and give their best.  He's up there with the greatest players ever for Liverpool."

XABI ALONSO (Real Madrid midfielder, Spain international and former teammate):  "He could play in any national team in the world because he has so many great qualities.  He is a very intelligent player, so he could play anywhere - not just any national team but any club in the world.  He will be remembered as one of the greats.  His name and Liverpool's name will always be linked."

BRENDAN RODGERS (current Liverpool manager):  "He dons his Superman cape, comes on and changes the whole dynamics of the game.  That is what great players do and this is one of the modern greats of the game."

JACK WILSHERE (Arsenal midfielder and England teammate):  "Steven is a great role model.  If I can get anywhere near as good as him and drive the team forward like he does, then I will be happy."

SIR BOBBY CHARLTON (former England international):  "Steven Gerrard is another like David Beckham whom I would have said, right from the word go, is a natural to make it to the very top."

JOHN TERRY (Chelsea captain):  "Steven Gerrard is a leader.  He's certainly done the business at Liverpool and he's done it with England too."

ROY HODGSON (current England manager):  "His ability gives him enormous respect in the group.  What gives him a real heads-up over a lot of people is his maturity, his total dedication to football and the fact that he's prepared to give his time to other players, to champion their cause and do everything you expect a captain to do."

WAYNE ROONEY (Man Utd forward and England teammate):  "Steven has been one of the best in the world over the last 15 years.  We look to him to give us that drive.  I think he got the captain's armband a bit later than he should have. He should have been named captain earlier."

RONALDINHO (Atletico Mineiro forward and Brazil international):  "For me, in the position he plays, he is one of the very best in the world.  For the job he performs, for me he is one of the greatest.’

THIERRY HENRY (former Arsenal captain and France international):  "“Whenever you play Liverpool, you know you have to get him out of the game. If not, it’s all over for you.  For me, and I have always said this, he will be regarded as one of the greatest midfielders ever when he finishes his career. No doubt."

KENNY DALGLISH (legendary Liverpool player and manager):  “He has certainly made a huge contribution to the club.... he wouldn’t be far away from being mentioned as the best player.”

ARJEN ROBBEN (Bayern Munich midfielder and Holland international):  "I think he is the best player in the English league."

ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC (Paris Saint-Germain forward and Sweden international):  “I think Steven Gerrard is a fantastic player.  He has been loyal to his club, he has won some big trophies with the club.  English players have big hearts; always fighting, very aggressive but Gerrard for me, feels more international.  He has more skills than the normal player."

FRANK LAMPARD (Chelsea midfielder and England international):  "I don't think you can feel bad about playing alongside Steven Gerrard. He is a fantastic player."

DAVID BECKHAM (former England captain):  "I’ve always said he’s one of the best midfielders in the world; I’m so happy to see him as England captain.”

SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON (former England manager):  "Steven is one of the best players you can find.  It is very difficult to say who is the best player in the country but Steven is certainly one of them - and has been for a long time now."

FABIO CAPELLO (former England manager):  "Zidane said Gerrard is one of the best in the world and I agree with him."

SIR GEOFF HURST (former England player and footballing legend):  "He has been a credit to his country and to Liverpool for more than a decade.  If you asked me to name the Premier League footballer who has given me the most pleasure or who I would pay good money to watch this century, Gerrard would be my choice."

ALEX FERGUSON (when he was Man Utd manager in 2000):  "He is physically and technically precocious.  He’s got a good engine and remarkable energy.  He reads the game and he passes quickly.  I would hate to think Liverpool have someone as good as Roy Keane."

ALEX FERGUSON (when he was Man Utd manager in 2004):  "He has become the most influential player in England, bar none.  I’ve watched him quite a lot.  Anyone would love to have him in their team."

ALEX FERGUSON (former Man Utd manager in 2013):  "I'm one of the few who felt Gerrard was not a top, top player."  First class twat; a classic case of sour grapes if you asked me.

WALK ON, STEVIE.... YOU ARE THE BEST.  Always was, always will be; no debate here... 'cept maybe between Jamie Carragher and that Neville twat.


(Photos courtesy of Google)

Are you a fan of Steven Gerrard?  What are your thoughts about him?

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