Why did Michael Owen leave Liverpool

Missile launch without landing

Michael Owen was considered the greatest talent in English football after Bobby Charlton and David Beckham. Now he hung up his football boots at the age of 33. From Liverpool to Stoke, from untitled dreams, from Twitter and horses - the unusual career of Michael O.

On August 1st, 1996 Michael Owen entered the paid football stage for the first time. Roy Evans, then Liverpool FC coach, called the striker from the Reds' youth boarding school to the first team at the age of 16.

It took Owen seven more months to score his first professional goal in his Premier League debut game. From now on Owen is one of the league's most dangerous goal getters, becoming the top scorer in England's top division in 1998 and 1999.

In the following two years he led Liverpool FC to titles in the UEFA Cup, the FA Cup and the UEFA Super Cup. Owen was voted Great Britain's Sportsman of the Year in 1998 and Europe's Footballer of the Year in 2001.

Of course, national coach Glenn Hoddle quickly noticed and called "St. Michael" in February 1998 for the first time in the squad of the English national team, for which Owen meets for the first time in May 1998.

On the slips of paper in Europe

It doesn't take long for many high-value offers for Owen to arrive on Anfield Road.

But since the striker feels very comfortable in Liverpool and has a generous contract, Real Madrid only managed to awaken serious thoughts of change at Owen in 2004. There is also a need for action for the first time at Liverpool FC. The top striker's contract runs for exactly one year. If you can't renew with Owen, you have to sell him this year to get another transfer fee.

The special temptation for Owen: Real boss Florentino Perez wants to "bring the best players in the world to Madrid" and is building a "Galactic Team". In the past few years, world stars such as Figo, Zidane, Ronaldo and Beckham had already decided to move to Los Blancos.

When Owen is also weak, Real sends twelve million euros plus Antonio Nunez to Beatles City and can introduce the next superstar in the Santiago Bernabeu.

Responsible people, experts, media and fans are sure: nothing stands in the way of Owens' world career, which has been crowned with numerous titles.

On to new shores

On August 14, 2004 the time has come. Spain's record champions Real Madrid introduce Michael James Owen after the mandatory medical check-up at the Bernabeu Stadium.

The fact that Los Blancos hold onto their new signing is also proven by the number on their backs. Florentino Perez proudly hands Owen the bib with the 11 on its back, which the legendary Alfredo di Stefano used to wear.

For the first time in his career, however, Owen is now facing great competition, has to fight for his place in the team - and loses. Instead of playing against Barca and Co, Owen is fighting with Fernando Morientes for the place behind Raul and Ronaldo, who were playing in the form of their lives at the time. Even if the Englishman usually only comes from the bench, he still scores 14 goals in 36 appearances this season.

False start and return after just one year

The situation in Madrid seems hopeless. The "Galactic" no longer rely on Owen, who also has to deal with ongoing problems in the thigh tendons. Owen doesn't want to lose any time and leave Madrid, where no obstacles are put in his way.

Of course, on the island in particular, Owen has not been forgotten, and so Owen, who has also received an offer from Liverpool FC, is moving to Newcastle United. The decision for the Magpies is not made by Owen, but by his employer Real, who only accepts Newcastle's € 25 million offer. For Owen everything is better than staying in Spain.

Luck is also missing "at home"

Back in England, Owen wants to restart his furious career and build on his time at Liverpool. But his losing streak follows him from Spain to his homeland. First Owen is out for a few months due to a fracture in his right metatarsus, then the previous low of his career at the 2006 World Cup follows.

National coach Sven-Göran Eriksson had previously called Owen back to England's squad for a long time, mainly due to the lack of storm alternatives. In the first minute of the last group game against Sweden, Owen twisted his knee and tore a cruciate ligament.

He is losing his liveliness, is no longer faster than his opponents, suffers from frequent secondary injuries and only made 71 league appearances in his four years at Newcastle. On the other hand, Owen can always rely on his enforcement skills and so he scored 26 hits during this time.

Michael Owen: The child prodigy of yore

Generations meet

After four years, his contract with the Magpies will not be renewed, and the free transfer Owen is back on the lookout for a club. At Manchester United you can use an experienced backup for Wayne Rooney, which is why coach Alex Ferguson brings Michael Owens to Old Trafford.

In the two following years, Owen now has to submit to what he used to be: Wayne Rooney is the rising star in the English football sky, inspires fans, coaches and the media - a meeting of generations.

Owen himself was always Rooney's role model: "When Michael scored the goal against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup, he was the greatest figure in world football. I can remember that I always wanted to be Owen when we kicked on the street."

The role model has long since passed its zenith, has given up the fight for a comeback and left the stage to Rooney.

Even in Manchester, Owen is no longer needed after his contract ends and is making one last move. An unusual career is now to come to an end at Stoke City, where an often injured and poorly formed Owen never gets beyond the role of reservist.

The end of a journey

In spring 2013, Owen announced that he was going to hang up his boots after this season. Football shoes that once featured Europe's footballer of the year. Shoes that Michael Owen wore through stadiums around the world and with which he drew the attention of an entire generation at the 1998 World Cup.

The beginning of Michael Owen's career was like a rocket launch, but the hoped-for and expected landing in Olympus did not materialize. Since his move in 2004, the striker has been surrounded by a large "eternal talent-what-if" bubble, which Owen was unable to break until his last game on May 19, 2013.

Twitter and horses

During his many injuries, Owen developed two passions outside of football. As one of the very first footballers, he was very active on "twitter". To this day, he shares his thoughts, feelings and experiences with his fans and followers. Sometimes he even makes over 20 entries per day, posts pictures of himself and his family, and occasionally even chats about club internals.

"A lot of you say that you are not angry with me because I was injured but because I left when we were relegated," Owen wrote on his departure from Newcastle, explaining: "The club never gave me a new one Offered a contract despite the media claiming they did. "

He shares his second passion with ex-trainer Sir Alex Ferguson. Both are downright horse enthusiasts, have their own stables and invest a lot of money in equestrian sport. Owen even runs his own horse business including racehorses and employs his own trainers. His top horse "Brown Panther" was able to win the highly endowed and prestigious race in Ascot in addition to other tournament successes in 2011.

"What have I missed?"

Owen was never one thing: grouch, envious person or disapproval. "What if" and "What would you change" - he always answers questions clearly: "I'm one of the happiest people in the world, I've played for Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester United, and I've scored 40 goals in 89 games for my country shot. I made so much money that I never have to work again. What did I miss? "

In any case, Owen did not share the huge expectations of England. Perhaps that is also the reason why he was never able to join the spheres of the great world stars and can only look back on a few titles at the end of his career.

To what extent Owen will continue to play football, he has so far left uncommented. First of all, he wanted to focus more intensely on equestrian sports and further expand the foundations of his riding stable.

A later return to football does not seem to be ruled out. In any case, the gates of England will always be open to the likeable boy from the small town of Chester.

Michael Owen in a profile

Top scorer of the 2012/13 Premier League season