Michael Owen Confirms Retirement At End Of Season (PICTURES)

Owen To Retire At End Of The Season

Michael Owen, the Stoke City striker, is to retire at the end of the season.

Owen, 33, won 89 caps with England but has succumbed to a number of injuries over the past seven years and made just seven appearances this season for the Potters, scoring one goal.

Owen has barely featured for Stoke this season

The former England striker said on his website: "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."

A phenomenal talent when he broke into the Liverpool team aged 17, despite a distinguished cub and international career, Owen will likely be remembered as an unfulfilled talent who was beset by injuries.

Owen scored on his Liverpool debut at Wimbledon in May 1997 and became the youngest England player in the 20th century at 18 years and 59 days, when he won his first cap in a 2-0 friendly defeat to Chile nine months later.

He was instrumental in Liverpool's 2000-01 cup "treble", scoring a late double in the 2001 FA Cup final. Months later, he scored a hat-trick in England's 5-1 demolition of Germany and that same year, at 21-years-old, Owen became the first English recipient of the Ballon d'Or since Kevin Keegan.

Owen scores the winner in the 2001 FA Cup final

After Rafael Benítez arrived on Merseyside in 2004, Owen was sold to Real Madrid for £11m. He scored 14 goals in Spain but struggled to earn a regular starting berth ahead of Raúl and Ronaldo.

Owen joined Newcastle for £16m after just one year in Madrid, and so began a beleaguered four years with the club in which he played just 79 times for the Magpies, who were relegated in his final campaign on Tyneside.

A free agent, Owen's advisers sent out a brochure to clubs promoting their client as he searched for a new club in 2009. Stoke and Hull City were both ostensibly interested but astonishingly, Sir Alex Ferguson blinked first and Owen joined Manchester United, much to the dismay of a large faction of supporters.

Owen joined United after 10 goals in the 2008-09 season

His winning goal in the dramatic Manchester derby in 2009 placated some fans, and Owen went on to score a Champions League hat-trick at Wolfsburg and netted in the League Cup final win, but his season ended in the Wembley win, eliminating his chances of a return to the national side for the 2010 World Cup.

Owen made just 21 appearances over the next two terms for the Reds - his last outing was against Oțelul Galați when he was withdrawn after 11 minutes due to injury.

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