Michael James Owen (born 14 December 1979 in Chester, Cheshire) is an English football player who currently plays for and captains Newcastle United.
Owen has enjoyed a successful and high-profile career at both club and international level and was the Ballon d'Or winner in 2001. Owen is currently England's fourth highest scorer of all time, scoring his 39th and 40th goal on his 85th cap, and is England's leading competitive goalscorer with 26 goals. Owen was selected by Pelé as one of the FIFA 125 greatest living players in 2004.
At age 13, when Owen started attending Hawarden High School, he became available to sign "School Boy" forms with a club. He held talks with Chelsea, Manchester United
, before he eventually signed for Liverpool
, the club that persuaded him to attend the FA's School of Excellence at Lilleshall in Shropshire at age 14.
Since 1998 Owen was Liverpool's top scorer every season until he left the club. Real Madrid signed him for a fee of £8 million on 13 August 2004, with midfielder Antonio Núñez moving in the other direction as a make-weight.
Following their successful bid, Owen was presented with the number 11 shirt by Real Madrid. Owen had a slow start to his Madrid career. He was often confined to the bench and drew criticism from fans and the Spanish press for his lack of form.
On 24 August 2005, Newcastle United announced that they had agreed a club record fee of £16 million to obtain Owen, although they still had to negotiate with the player's advisers. Liverpool and local rivals Everton entered the fray, but were unwilling to match Madrid's asking price. As the 2006 World Cup loomed in a year, Owen wanted to get more playing time to secure his position as the first choice striker in the English squad and joined Newcastle amidst rumours that he had inserted an escape clause valued at £12 million.
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