Thursday 17 May 2012
Striker Michael Owen has paid tribute to Manchester United after he confirmed he will be leaving the club this summer.
The 32-year-old has spent three years at Old Trafford but he has been told that United will not be offering him a new deal.
He joined the club from Newcastle United on a free transfer in 2009 but his time at United was blighted by injuries and he struggled to hold down a regular place in the starting line-up.
"It is a pleasure to have had Michael at Manchester United"
- Sir Alex Ferguson
Owen made six starts in the Barclays Premier League for the club, scoring five goals, including the famous last-minute winner against Manchester City in 2009.
He had three starts this season, scoring three goals in the Carling Cup.
"The Manager informed me after our testimonial match on Tuesday that the club would not be offering me a new contract," Owen wrote on his Twitter feed.
"I have loved every minute of the three years I have spent at such a fantastic club.
"I would like to thank the players, staff and fans for their support and wish them well for the future.
"I now plan to have a short holiday during which I will contemplate my next move."
A statement on Manchester United's website read: "Manchester United thanks Michael for his contribution and wishes him well for the future."
And manager Sir Alex Ferguson added: "It is a pleasure to have had Michael at Manchester United.
"Michael is a consummate professional and was an influential figure in our dressing room. Unfortunately he had no luck with his injury this season.
"Michael's record of goals per game is exceptional and we wish him all the best for the future."
Owen made his name as one of the Premier League's sharpest finishers at Liverpool, where he scored 118 League goals, before he moved to Real Madrid in 2004.
He scored 13 times in 20 La Liga starts for Real before returning to the Premier League with Newcastle United in 2005, where he scored 26 goals in 70 League appearances.