In the wake of Michael Owen announcing that he will retire from all forms of competitive Football at the end of the season. Here I take a look at his most memorable moments for both club and country.
England v Argentina 1998 World Cup
This is the game that catapulted the then 18 year old Michael Owen onto the world stage. England had already beaten Tunisia 2-0 in their first group game and Owen had scored in the defeat Romania after coming on as a sub. In the 3rd and final group game against Columbia he terrorised their defence no end in the 2-0 win. This set up a tantalising 2nd round match against bitter rivals Argentina. The game was poised at 1-1 after two early penalties and in the 15th minute David Beckham found Owen lurking just inside the Argentinians half. What Owen did next was set the world alight. He took the ball in his stride and ran over forty yards leaving a blaze of terror behind as he out muscled one defender, dropped the shoulder against another and out paced a third before lasing a superb finish into the top left corner past an on rushing Carlos Roa. England went onto lose the game on dreaded penalties after Beckham was sent off in a moment of madness but they were winners in another way as Owen had arrived.
Germany 1 - 5 England
Having struggled in the Euro 200 tournament and losing to Germany in the final game at the old Wembley, England needed a change of personnel and a morale boosting performance. In comes Sven Goran Erickson. The Swede took over from Keegan and after some ok performances he took his side to Munich. England needing a win to keep there World Cup qualification alive went 1-0 down thanks to an early goal from the terrifying Carsten Jancker. It seemed to be the same old story repeating itself until the 12th minute when Owen pulled a goal back and with a Steven Gerrard thunderbolt just before half time things were looking up. After the break Germany always pushing forward searching for the equaliser were torn apart by England on the Counter attack. Owen using his blistering speed caused havoc amongst the German ranks took no time in making it 3-1 and then 4-1. The 5th goal came from the unlikeliest of sources in Emile Heskey making it a clean sweep for Liverpool players.
Arsenal v Liverpool FA Cup Final 2001
Liver pool were on a roll going into this final having already bagged the League Cup, and if they could win this game they would be on for a dramatic Treble with the UEFA cup only a few days later. After being outplayed for most of the game and conceding a goal in the 72nd minute. Owen, who was having a quiet game by his standards, sprung into life in the 83rd minute as he latched onto a Gary McAlister free kick and putting the ball in the back of the net to level things up at 1-1. His second goal and the winner was a piece of individual brilliance. Taking a lofted ball from Patrick Berger, he went onto shrug off a challenge from Dixon, race past Adams and strike a low shot past the helpless David Seaman. Moments like these were what set Owen apart from the rest.
Manchester United v Manchester City 2009
After United lost Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid and Carlos Tevez opting to go across Manchester to rivals City, Ferguson decided to take a punt on Michael Owen as a replacement. The Man City team on the up and built with millions being pored into the club from the Middle East, City were starting to make a noise that didn't sit to well with the United hierarchy or their fans. This early season game between the two Manchester clubs was an enthralling game for both the superb attacking talent on offer and also for the lacklustre defending. United took the lead 3 times and in the 78th minute Owen came on for Dimitar Berbatov. With the game level at 3-3 and heading into the last minute of the 6 minutes of dreaded Fergie time, Owen seized his opportunity. Owen found himself in acres of space just behind the City defence, checked his run and latched onto a precise ball from Giggs. Taking one touch to set him self, he poked a cheeky chip over the on-rushing Shay Given, queue euphoric scenes at Old Trafford!!
Ballon d’Or Winner 2001
In 2001 Michael Owen became only the 4th English player to be given the accolade of the greatest player in Europe by winning the Ballon d’Or. This outstanding achievement was due in part to his goal scoring prowess throughout the season and also for his with match winning performances in crucial games. Liver pool would go onto win the League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup.
Michael Owen would go onto join Real Madrid in the 2008 season and score 16 times, but alas this would be last time Owen would ever truly score freely as his return to England and the following seasons would be marred with injury and would see him on the treatment table more so than on the football pitch.
Michael Owen has scored 262 times in 569 games for both club and country and is the 4th highest goal scorer for England and 7th top goal score for Liverpool.
Sources: Liverpool FC and Wikipedia.