Gerrard: My hunger for success
At the age of just 25, Steven Gerrard has already made over 250 appearances for Liverpool and 38 for England. The quietly spoken star excels regularly in England and for England - but now he is preparing to take on the world's best club sides in the FIFA Club World Championship TOYOTA Cup Japan 2005. In this first part of an exclusive two part interview for FIFA.com he recalls the night Liverpool were crowned as the champions of Europe.
FIFA.com: Six months on - what do you remember most about Istanbul?
Steven Gerrard: Lifting the trophy. It was a fantastic night with a lot of emotions. It was a great game to play in. The first half went totally against us and the second half couldn't have been better. It was a real game of two halves!
For every aspiring footballer out there - what does it feel like to lift the European Cup?
It is a proud moment. I am lucky enough to be captain, I am proud to be captain and I was lucky enough to lift the trophy first. The emotions are very different. You are delighted, there's a feeling of relief and a feeling of pride. I was just so happy for the team - it was an incredible effort.
Was winning the European Cup the proudest moment of your life so far?
From a football point of view, definitely. You always dream as a player that you will win cups and when I began playing for Liverpool that dream has come true. Since I became captain came close in one of the domestic cups, but to win the 'big one' first was absolutely fantastic.
How did a team comprising mainly of foreigners win with such a British 'never say die' attitude?
I wouldn't say we won the match with an attitude. We had a fair amount of class as well. We had a mixture of home grown players who helped the foreigners and the foreigners helped us at times. But we had a great mixture, a great balance and I think that is what got us there in the end.
What have you learnt most about being captain of Liverpool Football Club?
It is a great honour. It is all about responsibility and coping with that responsibility. As a captain of a team like Liverpool, there is a lot of pressure on you. You need to help to inspire the team to deliver results and it is all about making sure you do well. It is very important to win matches and be successful at this football club.
There was a lot of talk last season about your future at Anfield. Looking back - how did that affect you?
I think so. The speculation lasted for about 18 months and it's not nice to see your name and your future questioned in the press every single time you pick a newspaper up. It does affect your focus on the game. I am glad that it's all behind me now. I have signed a long-term contract and I am really happy here.
What do you consider to be your best position?
As an attacking central midfielder. To be honest, I am playing everywhere at the moment - and as I said, I don't mind. I'm just waiting for the call to go in goal now!
I suppose I could look at thing selfishly and sulk or I can be a team player and try and do a good job for everyone involved. It's a great honour to be involved in the starting eleven for Liverpool and England - and that gives me great confidence.