Former Liverpool star pays tribute to ‘captain fantastic’ Steven Gerrard

Former Liverpool defender John Arne Riise pays a touching tribute to Steven Gerrard ahead of final Anfield game

Social Spy
By Social Spy

John Arne Riise has penned a touching tribute to Liverpool’s captain fantastic Steven Gerrard ahead of the midfielder’s final appearance at Anfield on Saturday.

The 34-year-old Reds skipper is expected to line up against Crystal Palace in front of The Kop for the final time as a Liverpool player on Saturday afternoon.

When I first came to Liverpool in 2001, he was one of the first that approached me. Even though I couldn’t understand the scouse accent, I felt this guy was really nice

John Arne Riise

Naturally, there has been a steady flow of tributes for Gerrard throughout the week and Friday ahead of his Anfield swansong, and Riise took to his blog to write one of his own on Friday night.

Riise said: “I also know tomorrow is my good friend Steven Gerrards last home game for Liverpool. When you’re playing you never think that the day Steven Gerrard plays his last home game would come. Sadly, tomorrow is that day. After 700 games +.

“I wouldn’t normally post anything when a player plays his last game, but Gerrard is not just a player. He is “THE” player, the best I have ever played with. So I felt I had to write something to show my appreciation for Steven. Because to me and my career he has been so important. Without his support, advice and friendship, alongside Carragher, Hyypia and Murphy, I wouldn’t have succeeded at Liverpool.

“When I first came to Liverpool in 2001, he was one of the first that approached me. Even though I couldn’t understand the scouse accent, I felt this guy was really nice. It took me 4 months to understand scouse. He was so down to earth, friendly and helpful. So was the rest of the players, but him, Carra, Murphy and Hyypia was players that stood out.

“I was 21, but felt I was younger. Like a small kid. They have all told me after I left Liverpool that they knew I came there to prove I was good enough after I smashed them all in the first fitness test. That test made life easier for me.”

When I went through difficult time after my own goal against Chelsea, he was there to support me, he texted and called me just to make sure I was ok

John Arne Riise

The former Norway international won the Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup with Gerrard after Riise moved to the five-time European champions from Monaco in 2001.

Riise added: “Gerrard was a player that stood out from day 1! He was just unbelievable! He had everything. Strong, quick, stamina, passing, shooting, tackling. He was a leader, but the thing that made me realise he was world class was the person he was. Humble, quiet, supporting, hard working, family man and always there for his teammates.

“Over the years we bonded and became good friends. When you play 7 years and over 300 games together, that’s normal. I do hope and believe he thinks the same about me;) I must admit we did have some great times off the pitch that we can have a drink and laugh about now!

“We won a lot together, and he was sometimes the reason why. When I went through difficult time after my own goal against Chelsea, he was there to support me, he texted and called me just to make sure I was ok. Yes of course there was other players there as well, likes of Carra and Hyypia, but today it’s all about Gerrard.”

The APOEL full-back finally called time on his Liverpool career in 2009 and completed a move to Serie A outfit Roma before he return to the Premier League win Fulham.

Riise continued: “I wanna thank Gerrard for everything he has taught me. Even though we are the same age, he became someone I looked up to and someone I wanted to learn from. I am grateful for the time I had on the pitch with him.

“Liverpool has many legends, but I agree with Fowler, He is the greatest Liverpool has ever had. I’m honoured that I can say I played 7 years with the legend himself. I won Champions League with him, even though I think he won it for us.”

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