Former Liverpool and Real Madrid star Michael Owen has announced that he'll retire at the end of the 2012/13 season, surprising football viewers who had assumed that he'd hung up his boots five years ago. The much-decorated striker, who won the Ballon d'Or in 2001 when he was still a lightning-quick Anfield menace, saw his career derailed by an ill-fated move to Real Madrid and then a series of unfortunate injuries.
342 out of his 480 career appearances came before mid-2005, when he was still just 25 years old, and since then Owen's career has become something of a joke, finding himself on the treatment table more often than on the field. In recent times, he's probably better known for his tweeting than his goalscoring (he's found the net once in seven appearances for current side Stoke City).
Given that, in the early days, Owen was English football's golden boy, it's all a little bit sad. Time will allow us to forget his late career travails, however, and then his dizzying early accomplishments will be how he's remembered.