LONDON: Luis Figo said he wished Steven Gerrard had played alongside him at Real Madrid after watching the former Liverpool captain star in Saturday’s charity match at Anfield.
Gerrard, who at 36 was one of the youngest and most recently-retired players on show, was in sparkling form as a ‘Liverpool Legends’ team beat their Real Madrid counterparts 4-3 in a match in aid of the Liverpool Football Club Foundation.
Former Liverpool captain Gerrard, now back at Anfield as a member of the coaching staff, retired in November after ending his playing career with the LA Galaxy in the United States’ Major League Soccer.
The ex-England midfielder had a role in all four Liverpool goals on Saturday, scoring one, setting up two and also winning a penalty.
At the peak of his career, Gerrard — won won the Champions League with Liverpool — was a target for some of the world’s leading clubs.
Yet he remained loyal to hometown club Liverpool until eventually opting to go to Los Angeles.
Figo, however, was in no doubt that Gerrard would have held his own among the ‘Galaticos’ in the celebrated Real team of his time in Madrid.
“The moment in life when we had the possibility to play together, that wasn’t possible. I think it is a pity because everyone wants to play with the best,” the Portuguese star said. “I think Gerrard showed in his career he was one of the best footballers in his position. It was a pity but for Liverpool it was lucky because he could show his quality and talent here, at Anfield.”
Meanwhile, former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler, who also played in Saturday’s match, said: “Steven is probably the last of us to retire. I think he was nailed on to get man of the match. You knew he would play well and be instrumental in all the good that we did.”
Saturday’s match was preceded by a minute’s applause for Ronnie Moran, who died aged 83 on Wednesday, having served Liverpool as player, captain, coach and caretaker manager in an Anfield career spanning nearly 50 years.
Gerrard, speaking pitchside, said: “We’d like to mention ‘Mr Liverpool’, Ronnie Moran and dedicate this victory to him. It’s been a difficult week for the current players, the ex-players, the supporters, but none more so than Ronnie’s family.”
He continued: “So on behalf of everyone at the club, we’re behind them and hopefully today’s victory cheers them up that little bit.”