England legend set to retire
The Chester-born man, who endured an illustrious career at some of the world’s biggest sides, broke the news on his website, www.michaelowen.com.
A statement on the site read: “It is with an immense amount of pride that I am announcing my intention to retire from Professional Football at the end of this season.
“Having progressed through the ranks at Liverpool to make my first team debut at 17, before embarking upon spells at Real Madrid, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Stoke City, not to mention representing my country on 89 occasions, I now feel it is the right time to bring the curtain down on my career.
“I have been very fortunate in that my career has taken me on a journey that like many young players starting out, I could only have dreamt of.
“None of this would have been possible without the tremendous support I have received from managers, coaches, fellow players, back room staff, the supporters and my own personal sponsors. I would like to thank each and every one for the huge role they have played in helping me reach the top of my profession.
“Most of all though, I would like to thank my family. To my beautiful wife Louise, for her continued love and support through the many ups and downs in my career and for affording me the most precious gift of all, our children.
“To my Mum who has always taken the brunt of my frustrations yet continues to keep our family so tight-knit, a trait that has formed the foundations of my own success. Her dedication to me and my brothers and sisters is immeasurable. I’d like to thank Terry, Andy, Karen and Lesley for being so understanding and creating the perfect environment to grow up in.
“Last but not least, my Dad. We did it my old mate! From those freezing local parks to terrorising the best defenders in the World on the biggest stages of all. I couldn’t have done it without you.”
The 33-year-old joined his first club Liverpool at the age of 12 and broke numerous club and international scoring records throughout his youth career.
As a result, Owen managed to break into the first-team on Merseyside at the young age of 17, scoring on his debut against Wimbledon at the end of the 1996/1997 season, followed by winning the Premier League Golden Boot the following campaign.
He then famously made an instantaneous impact at international level during the 1998 World Cup, with his breathtaking run through the Argentinian defence followed by a deadly finish which firmly cemented his name in English folklore.
His finest hour at Liverpool would be the club’s unique treble season in 2000/2001 where they went on to lift the UEFA Cup, League Cup and FA Cup which prompted Owen to be named FIFA World Player of the Year in 2001.
Liverpool’s FA Cup triumph that season will be remembered as the Owen final, with his outstanding double against Arsenal turning the tie completely on its head.
This was coupled with his greatest moment in an England jersey with a remarkable hat-trick in the country’s famous 5-1 demolition of Germany in Munich in September 2001.
In 2004, he decided to make the move to La Liga giants Real Madrid for £8million following a fruitful spell at Liverpool, where he managed to find the net 158 times.
However, things didn’t go to plan in Madrid and he failed to get regular playing time at the Bernabeu, despite showcasing his goalscoring prowess at any given opportunity.
Therefore, Owen opted to return to England with Newcastle United for a fee believed to be £15million, which drew a huge amount of media attention.
Unfortunately his well documented injury problems blighted his career on Tyneside, which led to only 79 appearances during his four-year stay at St James’ Park.
Owen then made the surprise move to Manchester United on a free transfer and won the hearts of the Red Devils fans thanks to his dramatic last-gasp winner against bitter rivals Manchester City in a 4-3 victory in 2009.
Despite this, he was restricted to sub appearances and limited first-team opportunities which prompted the move to Stoke-on-Trent to sign for Stoke City, where he has made seven appearances, managing to score once for the Potters.
Michael Owen will be remembered for many positive things, but the main thing English football fans will remember will be the possible potential he could have achieved had he not been riddled with injury.