After first bursting onto the scene for Liverpool in 1997, Owen soon became one of the hottest properties in English football. Capped by Glenn Hoddle as England's then youngest ever player, he emerged as one of the stars of France '98 after scoring an amazing solo goal against Argentina. The Chester-born striker was voted the PFA Young Player of the Year in 1997-98, and BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1998 but among the success, injuries began to strike even at an early age.
After missing much of the 1999-00 season, Owen returned to his best in 2001, scoring two as Liverpool beat Arsenal in the FA Cup final, and claiming League Cup and UEFA Cup winners' medals. He hit a hat-trick against Germany in Munich when England historically triumphed 5-1 in a World Cup qualifier in 2001 and was awarded the European Footballer of the Year award for a truly stunning year.
On his return from Euro 2004, where he was overshadowed by teenage strike partner Wayne Rooney, and with just one year left on his contract, he departed Anfield for Real Madrid for just £8 million. He had an impressive goals-to-games ratio in his one season in Spain but failed to secure a regular starting berth, moving on to Newcastle for a club record £16 million in August 2005. >p? A succession of injuries meant his time on Tyneside was marked more by frustration than goalscoring exploits. In between long periods on the treatment table, Owen showed sparks of his old form but with the club relegated and in disarray under the ownership of Mike Ashley, Owen chose to cut his losses and leave the club at the end of his contract in 2009.
Used mainly as a substitute in his first season at Old Trafford, Owen endeared himself to United fans by scoring a dramatic winner in the 4-3 derby win over Manchester City in September and also netted a memorable Champions League hat-trick against Wolfsburg and United's equaliser in the Carling Cup final - before injury at Wembley ruled him out for the season. It was a similar story again in 2010-11, but nonetheless United handed the striker a new one-year deal towards the the end of the campaign.
Strengths: He may no longer possess the lightning pace that once struck fear into even the world's best defenders, but Owen still has a clinical eye for goal, demonstrated by his last-gasp derby day winner and Champions League hat-trick last season.
Weaknesses: Injuries. Over the years they have badly affected his pace -once his most valuable weapon. Despite still having a good eye for goal he is a long way from his prolific best and was guilty of missing a number of good opportunities for United last season.
Style: Though Owen may still believe he has what it takes to play off the shoulder of the last defender, he looked more impressive playing just behind a strike partner last season, where he has more opportunity to ghost in unnoticed.
Career High: In 2001, He became the first Englishman to win the Balon d'Or since Kevin Keegan in 1979 and to cap a great year, he scored a hat-trick against Germany in England's famous 5-1 rout.
Career Low: Owen's time at Newcastle was blighted by injuries. Between December 2005 and August 2007 he played just a handful of games and was club captain when they were relegated from the Premier League in 2009.
Quotes: "There is no one better at taking chances. His positional play, first touch and finish were absolutely superb. World class." Sir Alex Ferguson praises Owen after the striker scored the winner against Manchester City.
Trivia: Despite making his breakthrough for Liverpool and starring at Anfield for eight years, Owen was in fact a boyhood Everton fan.
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