Legendary England striker Michael Owen says boyhood club Liverpool’s refusal to re-sign him forced him to join arch-rivals Manchester United.
Owen left left Liverpool for Real Madrid in 2005 but departed the Spanish giants after just one season.
He returned to England and signed for Newcastle United but had an underwhelming spell at the Magpies.
And in 2009, following Liverpool’s manager Rafa Benitez favouring other transfer options, the door was opened for United to snap up the proven goalscorer.
“I was leaving Newcastle and the first thing I did was phone Carra [Jamie Carragher] and said ‘speak to Rafa Benitez’,” Owen told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“Carra got back to me and said ‘no, he’s about to sign someone’. I think it was David Ngog, but he had already had some great players in the team and basically they didn’t need another centre-forward. What do you want me to do at that point?
“My agent then spoke to virtually every club on the planet to see who was interested and the options were Hull City, Everton and Manchester United. You can imagine my thought process – go to Everton, get hated, go to Man Utd and get hated as well.
“As soon as I heard Man Utd were in for me then I thought, obviously first choice would be Liverpool and to go back there but if Liverpool aren’t going to want me and these are all my options then wow, Manchester United in the Champions League, I don’t have to move, I know loads of the lads. It was a brilliant move.
“I couldn’t believe my luck when Manchester United came in for me. Here’s me, regressing as a player in my own mind and still the champions of England wanted to sign me. I was absolutely buzzing when they wanted me.”
Owen went on to claim a Premier League title with United, while also making the bench in a Champions League final.
He admits that his intention was always to win the Premier League or the Champions League with Liverpool, but that opportunity never came.
“When I was growing up, winning the Premier League for Liverpool would have been my massive dream, or winning the Champions League.
“As it is, I had to settle for winning quite a few trophies with Liverpool but none of them being the Premier League, which was unfortunate.”