So, now we know.
After almost 20 years as a professional, close to 700 appearances (a landmark he will undoubtedly pass over the next few weeks) and 10 trophy triumphs – including a memorable Champions League success in 2005 – Steven Gerrard is to leave Liverpool.
The end of an era will be reached when the current campaign comes to a close, with an iconic figure set to bid an emotional farewell to Anfield.
You get the feeling that he will be back at some stage, but the curtain is about to come down on one of the most illustrious playing careers the red half of Merseyside has ever seen.
Gerrard has vowed not to join a Premier League rival – despite English football’s domestic title being a glaring omission on his distinguished CV – with the 34-year-old expected to head for the USA upon dropping into the free agent pool.
He will be greatly missed, of that there is no doubt, but a tough decision has been taken and there is no going back.
The question now is, who will follow in his footsteps?
For all of those hoping to emulate Gerrard at some stage in the future, the man himself has explained how he started out on a path which led him to captain the club he supported as a boy and earn 114 caps for England.
We may never see a player like Gerrard again – a real-life Roy of the Rovers.
At the peak of his powers his ability to dominate games and inspire those around him was unrivalled, with Liverpool turning to their talismanic skipper in more than one hour of need.
He was able to deliver on countless occasions – Istanbul 2005 and the Millennium Stadium 2006 to name just two – and will walk away with more than 100 Premier League goals to his name, including many against old foes Everton and Manchester United.
Gerrard is the perfect role model for the superstars of tomorrow, with an English sporting legend showing what can be achieved when ability is maximised by dedication and hard work.