Stoke City FC and former England forward Michael Owen has announced that he will retire from professional football at the end of the season.
The diminutive forward began his career at Liverpool FC where he burst on to the scene as a 17-year-old and went on to score 118 goals in 216 top-flight appearances for the Merseyside club. Owen also scored 40 goals in 89 games for England, including a sensational strike against Argentina in the 1998 FIFA World Cup and a hat-trick in the 5-1 2001 qualifying win in Germany.
Owen joined Real Madrid CF from Liverpool for the 2004/05 season but, despite 13 goals in 36 Liga games, returned to England with Newcastle United FC for the next three campaigns. His goals failed to prevent Newcastle's relegation from the Premier League in 2008/09 and Sir Alex Ferguson brought him to Old Trafford for the start of the 2009/10 campaign only for his time in Manchester to be limited to mainly substitute appearances.
"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," said Owen, who has scored once in seven appearances for Stoke this term. "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."
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