Michael Owen will retire from professional football at the end of the season following a glittering career, the former England striker has confirmed.
The 33 year old, formerly of Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle United and Manchester United, will leave Stoke City at the end of the current season after an injury marred campaign at the Britannia Stadium.
With 222 goals in 480 club matches, Owen is largely regarded as one of the most potent forwards of his generation, while an international record of 40 goals in 89 leaves him fourth in the all-time list of England goalscorers.
"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," wrote Owen on his official 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.
"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 dreamt of.
"None of this would have been possible without the tremendous support I have received from managers, coaches, fellow players, back room 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."
Upon making his league debut for Liverpool, as an Everton supporter, against Wimbledon in May 1997 Owen started as he meant to go on, scoring at Selhurst Park to become the youngster scorer in Premier League history.
From then on, Owen became first choice at Anfield ahead of the injury stricken Robbie Fowler, scoring 18 league goals in his full season, subsequently winning the Premier League golden boot and forcing his way into the England squad for the 1998 World Cup.
After becoming the youngster ever England goalscorer, in a warm-up game against Morocco, Owen scored twice in the World Cup, including in memorable fashion against Argentina in Saint Etienne.
Owen defended his Premier League golden boot the following season, but hamstring problems the following campaign restricted his appearances for Liverpool.
The finest year of his career arguably came in 2001, a calendar year during which he won five major trophies with Liverpool, including in the FA Cup final in which he scored twice to help defeat Arsenal, won the Ballon d'Or and scored a hat-trick for England during an iconic 5-1 win over Germany in Munich.
Three years later, Owen joined Real Madrid for one season, scoring 16 goals in 45 games, including in El Classico against Barcelona.
But he returned to English football to the following season to Newcastle United, linking up with former England captain Alan Shearer in attack, but injury problems, including a cruciate knee-ligament injury suffered for England during the 2006 World Cup finals, overshadowed his four-year spell at St James' Park.
A switch to Manchester United followed, where Owen took little time to endear himself to the Old Trafford faithful, netting his first home goal in stoppage time against arch rivals Manchester City as he claimed the first league championship of his career.
Owen's appearances became all the more rare due to sustained injury problems as his proposed international return was continually put on ice, as he made just one league start in his last season at United before penning a one-year deal with Stoke.
With one goal in seven appearances, Owen has struggled to make sufficient impact with The Potters behind the likes of Peter Crouch and Cameron Jerome, his only goal coming against Swansea City in January.