Michael Owen is set to hang up his boots at the end of this season. The one-time teenage phenom has had an illustrious career plagued by injuries. The product of the Liverpool academy, Owen was actually the joint top scorer in his first season in the Premier League with 18 goals. He then repeated that feat the following season and his name stands in the history books as the second highest goals scored by a teenager in the Premier League. Fellow Liverpool legend, Robbie Fowler is the only player to have scored more as a teenager with 23 goals. Owen was Liverpool’s top scorer for eight straight seasons (1997-2004). From the moment he made his debut, to the moment he left the club, Owen led his team in scoring every single year. In 264 appearances for Liverpool, Michael Owen found the back of the net 138 times and notched 7 assists in that time as well.* He became the youngest ever player to reach 100 goals in the Premier League. In 2001, the year Liverpool won the FA Cup, UEFA Cup and League Cup, Owen received the Ballon d’Or and become just the fourth English national to win the award and first since Kevin Keegan in 1979. He was also the first Liverpool player to ever receive the award, and still is to this day.
In 2004, Owen was sold to Real Madrid where he did not find the same success he previously had at Liverpool. His tenure at Madrid did not last long at all, he only made 41 appearances for them and scored 15 goals*. After one season in Madrid, Owen was sold to Newcastle where his injuries really started to take over and we began to see the demise of one of the most clinical strikers of his generation. In his first season with Newcastle he only managed to play 11 games but he scored 7 goals in that short period. Injuries took over and he was sidelined for about 18 months. Upon his return to the field, he was never the same again. His final two seasons at Newcastle he played a total of 57 games and scored 19 goals. Very un-Owen-like as we were used to him scoring about 19 goals per season. In his final year at Newcastle, they were relegated at the end of the season and Owen moved to Manchester United on a free transfer.
At United he was never a major cog in Sir Alex Ferguson’s plans as Owen was now very fragile and was not able to play very much, when he did, it would usually end up in another injury. He managed a total of 52 appearances for United scoring 17 goals*. Now plying his trade at Stoke City, Owen is again spending the majority of his time on the bench. A one-time phenom destroyed by injuries and robbed from becoming an even greater player than what his career will show.
Farewell, Michael. It was a pleasure watching you play in your prime.
*stat from transfermarkt.co.uk