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Former Liverpool hero and England striker Michael Owen has announced that he will retire at the end of the season. Over the last few years, his career has come to a halt with recurrent injuries and this season he only managed six league appearances for Stoke City, all coming from the bench.
However, the story was not supposed to be like this. The way he made his name in international football at such a tender age, he could have achieved lot more. His game was mainly dependent upon raw pace and more often than not careers of these types of players are blighted with injuries. Owen was not an exception.
In his eight long senior years at Liverpool, he scored 158 goals in 297 appearances. He moved to Real Madrid in 2004/05 and managed just one season where he scored 16 goals for the La Liga giants.
He returned to England and joined Newcastle United the following season and since then “bad luck” has haunted him all long. He just made 71 Premier League appearances in four seasons and scored 30 goals for the Magpies in all competitions.
In 2009/10, he was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United on a free transfer. From Owen’s point of view it was probably the right move as it was his last chance to reignite his dooming career. But with that move he forever became a villain in the eyes of Scousers.
He scored 40 goals in 89 appearances for England and is an asset of his nation. Let us take a look at five of his memorable games he played for his clubs and country.
2001 FA Cup Final – Liverpool 2-1 Arsenal
Arsenal paralysed Liverpool throughout the match but the Reds struck twice through Owen in 83rd and 88th minute to seal the FA Cup win. It was Michael Owen’s cup. Pace and composure were two of Owen’s biggest strengths. The second goal perfectly sums up his attributes nicely.
1998 World Cup – England 2-2 Argentina (pen. 3-4)
He made the history already by becoming the then youngest ever English player to represent the country at the World Cup finals and the record became sweeter as he bagged a goal for himself against Argentina. Though, England bowed out of the competition, but Owen’s breath taking run and equally sensational finish created hysteria around the globe.
2002 World Cup qualifiers – Germany 1-5 England
England needed victory against eternal rivals Germany in the crunch World Cup qualifiers in 2002 at the Munich Stadium. The Three Lions won by 5-1 where Michael Owen scored a fantastic hat-trick. It was a special achievement from a very special player.
El Clasico, April 2005 – Real Madrid 4-2 Barcelona
Scoring in the El Clasico is a dream for every player. Owen in his first El Clasico scored the fourth goal against Barcelona, as the Los Blancos enjoyed a goal fest at Bernabeu where Zinedine Zidane, Raul and Ronaldo were the other scorers.
Manchester Derby, September 2009 – Man Utd 4-3 Man City
Michael Owen didn’t play many games for the Red Devils but he certainly knew how to please the Manchester United fans. Simple, by scoring goals against their rivals, Manchester City.
In 2009/10 season, United defeated their derby rivals 4-3 at Old Trafford where Owen scored in the dying seconds of the match.
Liverpool fans probably can never forgive him for joining their hated rivals. Sir Alex however gave Michael Owen his rightful honour by giving him the prestigious number seven jersey. He achieved great success in his life but somewhere you feel his career ended on a sad note.