Michael Owen to retire at end of season
Stoke City striker Michael Owen has declared that he will end his playing career when the season finishes.
The former England striker has struggled to make an impact for Tony Pulis's side in the Premier League this campaign, scoring one goal during just seven first-team appearances.
The 32-year-old had previously played for Liverpool, Real Madrid and Newcastle before joinig the Potters on a one-year deal after leaving Manchester United last summer.
"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," he wrote in a statement on his official website.
"I have been very fortunate in that my career has taken me on a journey I could only have dreamed of.
"None of this would have been possible without the tremendous support I have received from managers, coaches, fellow players, backroom 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.
"Most of all though, I would like to thank my family. To my beautiful wife Louise, for her continued love and support through the many ups and downs in my career and for affording me the most precious gift of all, our children.
"To my Mum who has always taken the brunt of my frustrations yet continues to keep our family so tight-knit, a trait that has formed the foundations of my own success.
"Her dedication to me and my brothers and sisters is immeasurable. I'd like to thank Terry, Andy, Karen and Lesley for being so understanding and creating the perfect environment to grow up in.
"Last but not least, my Dad. We did it my old mate! 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."
An 18-year-old Owen burst on to the world stage with a memorable goal against Argentina for England at World Cup 1998 in France and has since gone on to win the Premier League, the FA Cup, three League Cups and the Uefa Cup.
The Stoke striker is also the most recent Englishman to win the European Footballer of the Year award in 2001, when he became the first Three Lions player since Kevin Keegan to recieve the prestigious accolade.
Owen is England's fourth-highest goalscorer of all time and has totaled 220 goals in his club career to date.