Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard will leave the club at the end of the season but will not play for a rival.
The 34-year-old midfielder made the announcement on Friday midway through a season when he has no longer been a guaranteed starter.
Gerrard said he’s “making the announcement now so the manager and team are not distracted by stories or speculation about my future.”
“This has been the toughest decision of my life, one both me and my family have agonised over for a good deal of time,” he said.
“From now until the last kick of the last game of the season, I’ll be as fully committed to the team as I ever have been. It is my sincere hope and wish that one day I can return to serve #LFC again, in whatever capacity best helps the club,” he added.
With his contract expiring at the end of the season, Gerrard has been free to talk to foreign clubs since New Year’s Day.
The former England captain also said his next club “will be somewhere that means I won’t be playing for a competing club and will not therefore be lining up against Liverpool – that is something I could never contemplate.”
The club’s manager Brendan Rodgers said: “As a leader and as a man, he is probably incomparable to anyone I have ever worked with.”
“This is an era where ‘legend’ is vastly overused, but in his case it actually doesn’t do him justice.”