Michael Owen to retire at end of season
"It is with an immense amount of pride that I am announcing my intention to retire from professional football at the end of this season," Owen wrote on his personal website.
"Having progressed through the ranks at Liverpool to make my first team debut at 17, before embarking upon spells at Real Madrid, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Stoke City, not to mention representing my country on 89 occasions, I now feel it is the right time to bring the curtain down on my career."
The 33-year-old scored 40 goals in 89 appearances for England and won the prestigious Ballon d'Or in 2001, but he has barely played since joining Stoke last year.
"I have been very fortunate in that my career has taken me on a journey that, like many young players starting out, I could only have dreamt of," Owen added.
"None of this would have been possible without the tremendous support I have received from managers, coaches, fellow players, back-room staff, the supporters and my own personal sponsors.
"I would like to thank each and every one for the huge role they have played in helping me reach the top of my profession."
'We did it'
Owen went on to thank his family, including his father, Terry Owen, who was also a professional footballer.
"We did it, my old mate!" Owen wrote.
"From those freezing local parks to terrorising the best defenders in the world on the biggest stages of all. I couldn't have done it without you."
Owen exploded onto the global scene at the 1998 World Cup in France when he scored a memorable solo goal against Argentina at the age of just 18.
He scored 179 goals in 306 appearances for Liverpool, his formative club, but his career lost momentum after he joined Real Madrid in 2004.
Unable to make an impression in Spain, he returned to England with Newcastle the following year but became plagued by injuries that ultimately curtailed his England career.
A three-year spell at Manchester United yielded his first Premier League winner's medal, in 2011, but he was only ever used as a back-up player and left the club when his contract expired last year. – AFP.