JERMAIN DEFOE has made his name and his legacy from being in the right place at the right time and by making the most of opportunities when they come along.

In the twilight of his glittering career, that was the case for the 39-year-old over the last three seasons at Rangers. The chance of another title and a coaching career at Ibrox has slipped by, however.

The moment had come for him to move on and his departure is a deal that makes sense for all parties. The farewells will be mutually fond.

Defoe's scoring record - eight goals in his initial months at the club, 17 in the first full campaign and seven as title 55 was delivered - speaks volumes for his importance on the park.

But it is what he brought behind the scenes, in the conversations after training or the chats over coffee, that have arguably been his greatest contribution to Rangers.

There is no doubt, for instance, that Alfredo Morelos has benefitted from the time spent working alongside the striker and that bond was clear at various stages.

Defoe was an inspirational figure for those within the Auchenhowie academy. He was a role model and a teacher, but he is still a student of the game.

In recent months, he had become a bit-part player. With his coaching influence reduced even before Steven Gerrard's departure, a January exit was always on the cards.

That news has now been confirmed. The tribute paid by Rangers, and those posted online from supporters, told their own story about Defoe's overall impact at Ibrox.

“Jermain has made a significant contribution to Rangers over the last number of seasons," Ross Wilson, the Rangers sporting director, said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon.

“Even in the ‘twilight years’ of his career, he has shown the expert movement and finishing ability that took him to the very top in his career.

"His contribution within the training centre was excellent, as he became a role model for his peers, showing professionalism on a daily basis.

“I was particularly pleased that he leaves with a league championship winning medal. It has been a privilege to have an England international of his quality within our group and we wish him well for the future.”

The coming weeks will determine what that future holds, what Defoe's next moves are and where he chooses to settle down as he prepares to tie the knot with his Scottish fiancée.

The Englishman has made more appearances on the small screen than he has on the park this term and his final outings for Rangers - in the defeat to Dundee United and victory over Livingston - will not go down as the most memorable of his career.

His latest punditry gig saw him provide analysis on West Ham's FA Cup win over Leeds United at the weekend and life in front of the camera would be a natural career step for a player that has always spoken eloquently and interestingly.

Last summer, it appeared that coaching would be the next call for Defoe as he was handed a place on Gerrard’s backroom staff alongside Gary McAllister, Michael Beale and Tom Culshaw.

It was a move that was warmly welcomed by Gerrard and Wilson but Defoe’s influence – both as a player and a coach - would quickly wane during a difficult start to the campaign for the champions. The idea and the deal just never worked out for various reasons.

As the season unfolded, he was no longer a visible presence on a matchday as Gerrard’s trusted lieutenants put his players through their paces and he was unable to get ahead of Morelos, Kemar Roofe and Fashion Sakala to earn a starting jersey.

His absence became curious, but the reasons and the relationships were never addressed in public and Gerrard’s exit ultimately didn’t provide the fresh start that Defoe required.

When Roy Makaay was appointed onto Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s coaching team in November, it effectively signalled the end of Defoe’s involvement on the training ground.

His aspirations in that regard had already suffered a blow by that stage and it became increasingly evident that a man of many clubs would likely have to find another one to play out the last stages of an illustrious career.

When he replaced Morelos for the final seconds of the 3-1 win at the Tony Macaroni Arena, he received a warm welcome on a freezing cold day. It has proven to be his final run-out for Rangers.

His 74 appearances contain many highlights, however. Some – such as scoring his 300th professional goal or netting in the Old Firm win over Celtic – will be cherished long after Defoe decides to hang up his boots.

No moment will mean more than the day that the Premiership was lifted, though, as one of the finest players of his generation finally became a champion and added a league medal to his collection of trinkets and awards.

Defoe has walked away from the final months of his contract - worth a six-figure sum - in order to prolong his playing career and to find a club where he can write another chapter in a remarkable tale.

His arrival at Rangers in January 2019 was accompanied by an Instagram post – featuring a picture of him and Gerrard on England duty – and the caption ‘Let’s bring that trophy home boss’.

Like all of those who played their part during such an emotional, glorious campaign, Defoe will always hold a unique place in the hearts and minds of the Rangers support.

He will rightly leave with gratitude and an acknowledgement of his efforts. Ultimately, it didn’t end with the fairy tale of another title to complete the story.

As a player, Defoe accomplished what he set out to achieve. As a person, he made an impression on those that he worked with and for and represented.

Rangers was no longer the right place for him. It will always retain a spot in his affections as he prepares to close one career and step up another in the game.