Former England striker Michael Owen celebrates his 40th birthday on December 14.
Here the PA news agency looks at some of his career highlights.
June 1998: Argentina v England
The day Owen announced his talent to the world as a precocious 18-year-old. He had already scored earlier in the World Cup, in the group stage defeat to Romania, and won the penalty for England to equalise against Argentina, but his run from 50 yards out, skipping past two defenders to score in the last-16 tie made him an overnight sensation.
2001: Arsenal v Liverpool
In what has become known as ‘The Michael Owen Final’, the then 21-year-old starred as Liverpool triumphed 2-1 in dramatic circumstances. Trailing 1-0 with seven minutes remaining, Owen smashed home an equaliser from close range and then, in the 88th minute, raced onto Patrik Berger’s long pass forward and evaded the attentions of Lee Dixon and Tony Adams to fire an angled shot beyond David Seaman with his weaker left foot before celebrating with a hand spring.
September 2001: Germany v England
A memorable night for all England fans but particularly Owen, who scored one of the most famous hat-tricks in the nation’s history as the Three Lions ran out 5-1 winners in Munich. Having equalised the host’s opener early on he exposed the space in Germany’s defence in the second half, first smashing home Emile Heskey’s knockdown before clinically converting Steven Gerrard’s through-ball for his third.
December 2001: Ballon d’Or
Owen capped a stellar year in which Liverpool won five trophies, saw him score 31 goals for the club – many of which helped them qualify for the Champions League for the first time – in addition to his England exploits in Munich, by being crowned European Footballer of the Year. In doing so he became the first Englishman since Kevin Keegan in 1979 to achieve the feat.
April 2005: Real Madrid v Barcelona
Owen struggled to flourish at the Bernabeu as he was behind Raul and Ronaldo in the pecking order but still had a decent goalscoring record. His highlight was scoring in a 4-2 drubbing of arch-rivals Barcelona. Again, though he had to take a back seat to the club’s megastars as Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo and Raul all netted before Owen made it 4-1 after running onto a David Beckham pass
September 2009, Manchester United v Manchester City
After Craig Bellamy’s 90th-minute equaliser the game appeared to be done at 3-3. However, Owen, who had been on the pitch barely 12 minutes, wrote himself into Manchester derby folklore by converting Ryan Giggs’ pass with the last kick of the game in the sixth added minute to seal a 4-3 victory for the Red Devils.
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