Michael Owen has explained what it was like to be booed on Liverpool return

Soccerex - Manchester: Day Four

There are many Liverpool fans who still haven’t forgiven Michael Owen for joining Manchester United in 2009.

It was a matter of loyalty, and some felt betrayed that Owen, who graduated from Liverpool’s academy to the first team, had signed for their rivals.

This comes despite the fact that Owen led Liverpool to a great deal of success in the early 2000s, even winning the Ballon d’Or in 2001.

It speaks to the rivalry between Liverpool and Man United, though, that even on a pay-as-you-play deal, Owen managed to lose the respect of a number of fans.

It would have been even worse had Owen switched from Anfield to Old Trafford but his career took him to Real Madrid and Newcastle United before Sir Alex Ferguson signed him.

Owen lasted just one season at the Santiago Bernabeu before Graeme Souness brought him back to the Premier League.

It wasn’t always easy for Owen to return to Anfield, who has opened up about this experience with Off The Ball.

Owen discusses Liverpool return

“When I finished at Newcastle, Liverpool weren’t in need. [Fernando Torres] was there at the time, so I had to look at my options," he said.

“I could have gone to one or two clubs but nothing of the calibre of Manchester United.

“And then of course I sat there thinking, ‘oh, this is going to ruin a lot of what I’ve done in some peoples eyes, but then again Michael, you’re not too old, you’re going to be playing in the Champions League, you’re at the top of your game still.'

“If you’re going to say no to Manchester United, you might as well just retire.”

Owen added: “I did all I could and I can’t do any more. Circumstances just meant that I couldn’t ever go back [to Liverpool].

“When I go back to Anfield and one or two people booed me, it was like a dagger in my heart for what I did for the club and how I felt about it. And how I still feel.

“My parents were upset.

“I can either choose to get upset over that all my life or I can just use it in my mind. The comforting factor for me is I know what happened at every stage.

“For the rest of it, for the odd minority that give me stick for it, it’s easy for them to flippantly give me stick but obviously it hurts me when it does happen considering what I did.”

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