LONDON (Reuters) - Former Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard announced his retirement on Thursday a week after confirming he would not be returning to play for MLS side LA Galaxy.

"Following recent media speculation surrounding my future I can confirm my retirement from playing professional football," Gerrard, 36, said in a statement.

"I've had an incredible career and I'm thankful for each and every moment of my time with Liverpool, England and LA Galaxy."

Gerrard spent virtually his entire career at Liverpool having made his debut as a substitute against Blackburn Rovers in 1998. He is third on the club's all-time appearances list with 710, behind only Jamie Carragher and Ian Callaghan.

He scored 120 goals in 504 Premier League games.

One of the most highly-regarded midfield players in world football at his peak, he was capped 114 times for England, 40 as captain, and played in six major tournaments.

Gerrard left Liverpool in 2015 and spent 18 months with Galaxy, scoring five goals in 34 appearances.

While he never managed to win an English league title medal with Liverpool, Gerrard will forever be associated with the Champions League final in 2005 when Liverpool fought back from 3-0 down at halftime to win on penalties in Istanbul.

Gerrard scored Liverpool's first goal and drove the team on to arguably one of the greatest nights in the club's history.

Liverpool had looked on course for a first title in 24 years in 2014 after an 11-match winning streak but Gerrard's costly stumble at home to Chelsea in April gifted Demba Ba a goal that put the visitors on the way to a 2-0 victory.

The club's title charge fell apart thereafter and Manchester City snatched it.

"There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about what if that didn't happen," Gerrard once said.

As well as the Champions League, Gerrard won two FA Cups with Liverpool, three League Cups and the UEFA Cup.

Individually he was named in third place in FIFA's World Player of the Year in 2005 and PFA Player of the Year in 2006.

"I feel lucky to have experienced so many wonderful highlights and I'm proud to have played over 700 games for Liverpool, many as captain, and helping to bring major honors back to the club, none more so than the famous night in Istanbul," Gerrard said in his lengthy statement.

He has been linked with a return to Anfield in a coaching capacity.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)