Liverpool fans expressed deep disappointment on Friday at the news that Steven Gerrard would be leaving them but wished him well, saying he would "never walk alone".
"He has been a great player for a great club and we wish him well for wherever he is going to go," Allan Pye, a 52-year-old electrician and Liverpool fan of more than 40 years, told AFP outside Anfield stadium.
His wife Bonnie, 48, added: "He has given so many years to Liverpool football club. If this is best for him and his family then we are totally on his side."
Similar sentiments were expressed online, where hundreds of fans left tributes on Liverpool's official website.
"Can't come to terms of Stevie leaving! (sic) I've loved him since I was three. He will never walk alone," said one fan, Scott Moss.
"It won't matter what he does next, he will always be LFC (Liverpool Football Club) through and through. What a legend," said another, Barry Watkins.
Gerrard will at the end of the season leave the club where he has played since the age of eight, and will transfer to an as yet undecided club outside Britain.But he indicated he will return to Liverpool, where he was born and where he will always be idolised. Liverpool fans' anthem is "You'll Never Walk Alone".
"Stevie is his own man, but he is Mr Liverpool," said teammate Rickie Lambert.
"He has meant everything to me, growing up as a Liverpool fan. The nights he has given Liverpool fans are unbelievable - I'll never forget them," Lambert said.
Ian Smith, a 17-year-old student wearing the club scarf outside Anfield, said he was "very disappointed as a Liverpool fan because he is one of the best players ever".
He conceded that Gerrard "hasn't been playing that well recently, but if you look at Frank Lampard at Manchester City, he is still doing it and he is 36".
He added: "I think it is a loss for the team. If you look at the midfield now it's not the best."
Amid rumours that Gerrard may move to MLS franchise LA Galaxy, Smith said: "If he goes to America he will be one of the best players there."
Among those paying tribute were relatives of the 96 fans killed in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, whom Gerrard has supported over the years.
The player's ten-year-old cousin Jon-Paul Gilhooley was the youngest of the victims.
"He's someone the city can be proud of. He's been a great role model to everyone and a good influence on other footballers and up-and-coming youngsters," said Margaret Aspinall, chairwoman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group
In his announcement, Gerrard paid tribute to the fans, who he said made Liverpool "the greatest in the world".
"It has been a privilege to represent you, as a player and as captain. I have cherished every second of it and it is my sincere wish to finish this season and my Liverpool career on a high," he said.