- Premier League
Owen announces he will retire at end of season
Stoke City striker Michael Owen has announced that he will retire from professional football at the end of the season.
The former Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle United and Manchester United forward will call time on his playing career following the conclusion of the current campaign.
Owen also played 89 times for England during his career, scoring 40 goals - winning the Ballon d'Or in 2001.
"It is with an immense amount of pride that I am announcing my intention to retire from professional football at the end of the season," Owen said, in a statement on his personal website. "I now feel it is the right time to bring the curtain down on my career.
"I have been very fortunate that my career has taken me on a journey that I could only have dreamed of."
Owen, 33, broke into the first-team at Anfield as a teenager - scoring 158 goals in 297 games for the club, winning six trophies in the process. He then joined Real Madrid for £8 million in 2004, although he struggled to settle at the fabled Spanish club despite a commendable goalscoring return.
A return to England with Newcastle United soon followed, although injuries affected the striker throughout his time at St James' Park - with Owen departing the club at the end of his contract in 2009, as the club were relegated from the Premier League.
A surprise move to Manchester United followed, with Owen used sparingly by Sir Alex Ferguson - although he scored a match-winner in the derby against Manchester City in his debut season, before notching in the League Cup final later in the campaign. In 2011, he picked up a Premier League winners' medal, the first of his career.
In the summer he moved to Stoke City, making seven appearances (six as a substitute) to date for Tony Pulis's side - scoring a solitary goal.
One of only four English players ever to win the illustrious Ballon d'Or, Owen was a prolific goalscorer for the Three Lions during his international career - getting within nine goals of Sir Bobby Charlton's all-time goalscoring record.
Owen played in three World Cups - making his name on the world stage with a wonderful solo goal against Argentina in 1998 - and enjoyed numerous highlights, with a hat-trick against Germany in Munich in 2001 perhaps the apex of his international representation.
The only England player to date to score in four different international tournaments, Owen also captained his country on eight occasions.
"None of this would have been possible without the tremendous support I have received from managers, coaches, fellow players, backroom staff, the supporters and my own personal sponsors," Owen added. "I would like to that each and every one for the huge role they have played in helping me reach the top of my profession."