Owen to Real Madrid is official

Madrid, Spain (Sports Network) - Former English player of the year Michael Owen was unveiled as Real Madrid's newest striker at a press conference in Madrid Saturday.

Owen, who passed a three hour physical examination on Friday, joins David Beckham, Zinedane Zidane, Ronaldo and Luis Figo on the star studded Spanish club, which finished a disappointing fourth in its league last season.

The 24 year-old striker leaves Liverpool, the team which he has been a part of since was 11. Liverpool stood to lose Owen for nothing next summer when his contract is up, so the estimated $14 million transfer fee and former Madrid midfielder Antonio Nunez is welcomed by the Premiership club.

Owen scored 158 goals in 297 games for Liverpool. He has also appeared in two world cups and two European Championships for England.

"I was very happy with Michael and I wanted him to stay. The problem was he only had a year left on his contract," said Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez.

Owen was presented with the number 11 jersey by Real Madrid legend Alfredo di Stefano.

"I am so proud to be wearing the number 11 shirt and I'd like to thank everyone for making me so welcome here," said the speedy Owen. "I would like to say a special thank you for being given the opportunity to play for the best team in the world."

The surprise Owen signing ended Real Madrid's pursuit of Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira, who announced he will be staying with the Premier League champions.

"He (Owen) fits perfectly into the Real Madrid culture. Not just because of the way he plays but because of his behavior off the pitch," said Real Madrid president Florentino Perez.

By The Source
Aug 15, 2004
© Copyright 2004-2005 www.miamifootball365.com

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