LONDON, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Former England striker and "golden boy" Michael Owen announced on Tuesday that he will retire from professional football at the end of the season.
"It is with an immense amount of pride that I am announcing my intention to retire," the 33-year-old said in a statement on his 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."
Owen, who scored 40 goals in 89 internationals, was the first English player named as European Footballer of the Year in 2001 since Kevin Keegan (1979).
He started career as a teenage at Liverpool and only needed about one year to grow as a world's star.
At 1998 World Cup, Owen, aged just 18, joined the Three Lions and scored one of the most beautiful goals in that tournament when he picked up a midfield cross from David Beckham before bursting to overrun two Argentina defenders and beat the keeper with a stunning solo show.
He delivered another classic show for England three years later. In Munich, he scored an unstoppable hat-trick as England outscored Germany 5-1 to record as one of their best games in history.
Also in 2001, Owen reached his peak in career when he helped Liverpool claim a treble of trophies including the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup.
He has scored a total of 220 goals so far in club career and 158 of them were contributed to Liverpool, his dream theater.
"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 dreamed of."
Owen chose to face new challenge in 2004 when he moved to Real Madrid, where he joined Zidane, Luis Figo, Raul and Roberto Carlos to form the "Galacticos".
Though scoring 14 goals in 40 games for the Spanish giant, he returned to England football with a move to Newcastle United in 2005.
Then the frequent injuries prevented the former "golden boy" to fight way back to peak.
The most bitter moments to some Chinese fans was in 2006 World Cup. Owen damaged the cruciate ligament in his right knee in the opening minute of the group match against Sweden, when his painful look made many fans sad in tears.
Owen joined Stoke at the start of this season and has scored one goal in seven games.