Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand believes Steven Gerrard's departure from Liverpool was a sign loyalty in football doesn't always go both ways.
From coming through the ranks as a school boy to leaving as the third all-time appearances holder on Merseyside, Gerrard spent 19 years at Liverpool, winning the Champions League, UEFA Cup, FA Cup and League Cup at Anfield. As well as contributing 186 goals and 151 assists in 710 appearances for the club, the midfield great also showed tremendous loyalty and leadership to resist lucrative advances from Chelsea, Manchester United, and AC Milan.
But despite the now Aston Villa manager resisting that interest, the club chose not to offer him a new contract in 2015 and he subsequently moved to LA Galaxy. And Ferdinand believes his former England counterpart's exit from the club is a sign loyalty can sometimes be very one-sided.
“Let's look at Steven Gerrard's case," Ferdinand said to Vibe with Five. "He had been loyal to them, he had some obscene offers, probably, we're hearing from Chelsea, they courted him, they tried every which way they could through players and what not trying to get him, and unsettling him.
"He became unsettled, flirted with the idea a little bit, but actually, loyalty probably made him stay at Liverpool. He decides to stay and towards the end of his career, the club don't want to give him a new deal when he's getting a bit older, bearing in mind he was arguably the club's best ever player.
"He was a part of iconic moments at the football club, he would have had so much to offer young players; from a culture, a mentality, and somebody they can look at and identify with as a local lad, but they chose to let him go to LA Galaxy." Gerrard spent around 18 months with the MLS giants before choosing to depart the club and begin the process of becoming a manager.
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He did return to Liverpool as a youth coach and manager of the U18s side, before moving to Rangers in what was his first senior position as a manager. However, Ferdinand also suggested that he could have become a more established figure or even manager within the club if he was afforded another contract by the club.
"There was the ability for him to stay there as a player coach almost and groom him into being a coach in the system or the manager, but they chose to allow him to leave and go to LA Galaxy," Ferdinand added.
"When you talk about loyalty, maybe if the club were being shown an element of loyalty there, they might have gone, 'you know what because of that loyalty you showed us, we're going to give him a bit back at the end of your career'."
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