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Steven Gerrard retires while Wayne Rooney is now Manchester United's all-time scoring leader

Steven Gerrard retires while Wayne Rooney is now Manchester United's all-time scoring leader
Steven Gerrard acknowledges the fans after an English Premier League game against Crystal Palace at Anfield stadium in Liverpool in April 2015. (Peter Powell / EPA)

After an illustrious playing career full of remarkable comebacks alongside jarring Premier League lows, Steven Gerrard is done.

The 36-year-old Gerrard, who won every major club honor with Liverpool apart from the English title, said Thursday he was retiring from soccer after an 18-year professional career.

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"You are aware that time is coming towards the end, the body starts talking to you," the former England captain told British broadcaster BT. "The pains and the aches get more regular. The way you feel out there on the pitch changes.

"Over the last couple of years I've felt myself slowing down a little bit and I basically can't deliver what I used to be able to deliver and that becomes a little frustrating as time goes on."

Gerrard was one of the best midfielders of his era and won admiration for staying loyal to his boyhood club and resisting the riches offered by Premier League rivals.

He only left Liverpool in 2015 after no longer being able to reach the formidable levels of his peak years and losing his place in the lineup. He played the final two seasons of his career with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Gerrard's biggest moments all came in Istanbul in the 2005 Champions League final. Trailing 3-0 at halftime against AC Milan, Liverpool was facing humiliation until Gerrard scored to begin a comeback that culminated in the club's fifth European title — won on penalty kicks.

A year later in the FA Cup final, Liverpool was trailing 3-2 heading into stoppage time until Gerrard pounced with a long-range equalizer. Just like in the European final, the FA Cup was collected by winning a penalty shootout.

"I feel lucky to have experienced so many wonderful highlights over the course of my career," Gerrard said in a statement. "I am proud to have played over 700 games for Liverpool, many of which as captain, and to have played my part in helping the club to bring major honors back to Anfield, none more so than that famous night in Istanbul."

Liverpool's scouts spotted Gerrard's talent as an 8-year-old and he went on to score 186 goals in 710 first-team appearances. Gerrard, who also made 114 appearances for England, now has a decision to make about his next job.

"I am excited about the future and feel I still have a lot to offer the game, in whatever capacity that may be," Gerrard said. "I am currently taking my time to consider a number of options and will make an announcement with regards to the next stage of my career very soon."

Rooney surpasses Van Nistelrooy

Wayne Rooney surpassed Ruud van Nistelrooy as Manchester United's all-time top scorer in European competitions, leading the English club to a 4-0 win over Feyenoord and keeping it alive in the Europa League. 

After scoring his 39th European goal in the 35th minute, Rooney also unselfishly set up Juan Mata in the 69th, leaving United on its way to an easy victory and in a good position to advance to the knockout rounds.

United reached nine points and is only one behind Group A leader Fenerbahce, which defeated Ukraine's Zorya Luhansk 2-0 in Turkey.

An away win against already eliminated Zorya in the final round in December will be enough to send United through and help relieve some of the pressure on manager Jose Mourinho.

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Etc.

Inter Milan couldn't hold on to a two-goal lead against Israeli club Hapoel Beer-Sheva and was eliminated from the Europa League with one round still to be played. Inter lost for the fourth time in five games in Group K. Sparta Prague, which defeated Southampton, 1-0, at home, secured first place in the group with 12 points, five more than both Hapoel and Southampton, which meet in England in the final round. Inter has three points. …

Villarreal missed a chance to reach the top of a tightly fought Group L after conceding an 87th-minute equalizer to FC Zurich, leaving the group lead with Turkish side Osmanlispor, which lost, 2-1, at Steaua Bucharest. … Fiorentina lost, 3-2, to Greece's PAOK at home but remained with a three-point lead in Group J. ... Zenit St. Petersburg maintained a perfect record after a 2-0 home win against Maccabi Tel Aviv in Group D. Zenit has a 10-point lead at the top. … Schalke defeated Nice 2-0 to also stay comfortably ahead in Group I. ... Group H leader Shakhtar Donetsk routed Konyaspor 4-0. … Ajax stayed ahead in Group G with a 2-0 win over last-place Panathinaikos.

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