A career that was launched into orbit by a stunning goal against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup will end meekly 15 years later after Michael Owen announced on Tuesday (March 19) he will hang up his boots at the end of the season.
The former England striker, who made his first-team debut for Liverpool as a 17-year-old and also played for Real Madrid, Newcastle United and Manchester United, has almost disappeared from view at Stoke City for whom he signed last September.
Diminutive Owen had already shown his potential at Liverpool when he thrust himself onto the world stage with a sensational solo goal against Argentina in a 1998 World Cup second round defeat in St Etienne.
A natural striker with a devastating burst of pace, Owen went on to make 89 international appearances, scoring 40 goals to sit fourth on the all-time England goalscorers' list.
Another famous England performance came in the 5-1 World Cup qualifying win in Germany in 2001 when he scored a hat-trick.
In 297 appearances for Liverpool he scored 158 goals, making him one of the most sought-after strikers in the world, voted 2001 European Player of the Year and twice winning the Premier League's Golden Boot award.
Owen joined a star-studded Real Madrid team in 2004 and despite starting mainly as a substitute, he managed to score 16 goals in his only season at the Bernabeu before returning to English football with Newcastle.
The latter years of Owen's career have been marked by regular injury problems. After battling to recover from a broken foot to be fit for the 2006 World Cup finals, Owen suffered a serious knee injury in the first minute of a match against Sweden and missed almost a year, before moving to Manchester United on a free transfer.
Since joining Stoke he has made only seven appearances, six of them as substitute, scoring one goal.
Presented by Adam Justice