Real Madrid CF have signed Liverpool FC striker Michael Owen for €12m with Antonio Núñez moving to Anfield.
'You cannot control it'
"When a big club like them come knocking, you cannot control it," said Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez. "It's bad that Michael's gone but we have three very good forwards and I'll be looking for a solution in the future."
Owen has signed a four-year contract with the option of a fifth term, and the move ends his 13-year affiliation with Liverpool. At Madrid he will have to fight for a place with a formidable array of attackers that includes Ronaldo, Raúl González and Fernando Morientes.
Owen will not be joined at the Santiago Bernabéu by Arsenal FC midfield player Patrick Vieira, however, after the Frenchman announced he was staying with the English champions.
A former European Footballer of the Year and an English international from the age of 18, the 24-year-old Owen shot to prominence with a superb goal against Argentina in the 1998 FIFA World Cup.
Two years previously he had been playing youth team football with Liverpool and was a member of their successful FA Youth Cup-winning side. He made his senior debut for the Merseysiders in May 1997.
In 1998, Owen was voted PFA Young Player of the Year, and in 2001 he was instrumental in helping Liverpool to victory in three knockout competitions - the UEFA Cup, FA Cup, and English League Cup.
A prolific goalscorer, he netted 158 times for Liverpool in 297 appearances. However, as he entered the final year of his contract, with a new deal unsigned, a transfer away from Anfield became increasingly likely.
Eligible for Europe
Benítez left Owen on the bench for Tuesday's UEFA Champions League third qualifying round first leg against Grazer AK, which the Reds won 2-0. Therefore, Owen will be eligible to play for Madrid in the competition if they reach the group stage. They lead Wisla Kraków 2-0 after the first leg of their third qualifying round encounter.
The 25-year-old Núñez, the makeweight in the deal, is a pacy right-winger who made eleven appearances last season, usually as a substitute for Luís Figo.