Michael Owen says that his career was in decline from age 23


It's fair to say that at his best, Michael Owen was one of the best strikers in the world.

Owen had an illustrious career spanning 17 years and played for some of the biggest clubs in the world as well as enjoying success for England.

The former striker made his name with Liverpool, breaking into the first team at 17 and played his best football at Anfield, with his career arguably peaking in 2001 as he scooped the Ballon d'Or.

His form for Liverpool, where he scored 118 goals in 216 appearances, earned him a big-money move to Real Madrid in 2004.

He never fully won the fans over in the Bernabéu though, only staying in Spain for a single season before joining Newcastle United.

Mo Salah surpasses Luis Suarez Liverpool goal tally

Liverpool's likely starting XI for Aston Villa match

Virgil van Dijk showed Erling Haaland who was boss on Tuesday night

Owen's time there was blighted with injuries though, and he later claimed that the move was a big step down in his career.

He finished with stints at Manchester United and Stoke City before hanging up his boots in 2013 and moving into punditry.

Now 40, Owen has opened up about the injury struggles that he endured during his playing days.

“Up until the age of 20 I was probably one of the best in the world at that age. That continued for a certain period of time but then injuries slowed me down" Owen said, per AS.

"I was probably on the decline at 23. When you rupture your hamstring and it doesn't repair I was compromised. That happened to me when I was 19 and I won the Ballon d'Or at 21."

Owen also stressed that he had no regrets over his move to Madrid, despite struggling to break the Raul-Ronaldo partnership up front, as well as his move to Manchester United.

"I signed for Manchester United because that was the best option for me at the time. I'm not ashamed of what I did - despite people wanting me to be ashamed. It was never my dream to play for Stoke, Manchester United and Newcastle, but that's where my career took me."

Currently working for BT Sport, Owen is hardly everyone's favourite pundit and often divides opinion, but what's not in doubt is that we'll never forget that goal against Argentina in France '98.

News Now - Sport News