By RYAN TOLMICH
After a disappointing tournament performance, England will emerge from the 2014 World Cup facing the international retirement of their captain.
Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard announced his retirement Monday, ending a 14-year career with the Three Lions. The 34-year-old midfielder, who made his international debut in 2000, leaves the international game having amassed 21 goals in 114 appearances across six major tournaments.
“I have enjoyed every minute of representing my country and it is a sad day for me knowing that I won’t pull on the England shirt again,” Gerrard said. “However, I do look forward to continuing my strong relationship with The FA and helping out in any way I can going forward.”
Gerrard cited his commitment to staying fresh for the club level as a key factor in his decision.
“To ensure I can keep playing to a high level and giving everything to Liverpool Football Club I believe this is the right decision,” Gerrard said, “and having Champions League football back at Anfield is another big factor in my decision.”
Here are some more of Monday’s news and notes from around the soccer world:
SHAKHTAR PRESIDENT SAYS PLAYERS WILL “SUFFER” IF ABSENCE CONTINUES
With millions being affected by the current situation in Ukraine, the conflicts have now trickled down and begun to have an impact on the country’s biggest club.
Reigning Ukranian Premier League winner Shakhtar Donetsk is facing a player crisis, as six of the team’s players have yet to return to the country after a friendly Sunday in France.
Club president Rinat Akhmetov said that the six players—Douglas Costa, Fred, Dentinho, Alex Teixiera, Ismaily and Facundo Ferreyra—will “suffer” if they refuse to uphold their contracts and return to the club.
“I don’t rule out that these players will return to the team quickly, and some of them — tomorrow,” Akhmetov said. “Players have contracts that they have to abide by. If they do not come, I think, they will be the first to suffer. Each of them has a minimum release clause, which is tens of millions of euros. If someone wants to reduce this amount by a million, then such a decision is our right.”
Akhmetov went on to say that the players would have nothing to fear when it comes to playing in the conflict-ridden country and that the club would provide proper security for those involved.
“Hopefully, the mind and heart will prevail over misunderstanding, and the players will not follow temptation and fear,” Akhmetov said. “We are ready to provide security. We will not take risks and in any case we won’t bring players to dangerous places.”
EVRA OFFICIALLY JOINS JUVENTUS
After spending nine seasons with one of England’s most successful clubs, Patrice Evra has officially joined an Italian side of similar stature.
The former Manchester United fullback completed a move to Serie A powerhouse Juventus on Monday, with United set to receive 1.2 million pounds ($2 million) in transfer fees for the French defender. The fee will be paid in two installments, with United also set to receive 300,000 pounds if Juventus qualifies for the 2015-16 Champions League.
Evra joined the Red Devils in 2006 from French side AS Monaco. The 33-year-old made a total of 379 appearances for United and scored 10 goals.
How will England fare without Gerrard? What do you think of Shakhtar’s response to the players’ absence? Is Evra a good signing for Juventus?
Share your thoughts below.