Tuesday Kickoff: Owen to retire at season’s end, Neymar down to three potential teams, and more

Michael Owen of Stoke City celebrates scoring his goal to make the score 3-1

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

English soccer will be losing one of their legends of the game when May comes around.

Stoke City forward Michael Owen announced his plan to retire at the end of the season on Tuesday morning, ending a dazzling career that saw the Chester, England native play for Liverpool, Real Madrid, and Manchester United among others, as well as represent his country on 89 occasions.

Owen, 33, began as a professional when he was 17-years-old, scoring on his debut for Liverpool. In his next two seasons, the son of a former soccer player scored 23 goals each year, making him an early star. Owen scored as many as 28 goals in a season for Liverpool, but his career took a downswing after a move to Real Madrid.

Though he scored 16 times during the 2004-2005 season, the England international was dogged by injuries that continued to affect his play the rest of his career. For the Three Lions, Owen suited up at 1998 and 2002 World Cups, as well as the 2000 and 2004 European Championships, scoring 40 goals.

Here are some other stories to start your Tuesday:

NEYMAR HAS THREE CLUBS ON HIS SHORTLIST

He’s still biding his time at Santos, but thinking about the future, Brazilian forward Neymar has decided on three potential destinations for when he decides to leave his native Brazil.

The 20-year-old has made the headlines again, explaining in an interview with the Brazilian publication Esporte Espetacular that he is only considering going to a big club, with three teams in mind; Chelsea, Barcelona, and Real Madrid.

The news comes as a blow to Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, who may have thought they had a chance in the race to sign the Brazilian wonderkid. However, Neymar made it clear in the interview that he wasn’t ready to leave Santos just yet, so the speculation on his future will continue.

ARSENAL REFUTE CLAIMS OF WILSHERE SETBACK

Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere won’t be sitting on the sidelines for much longer.

After suffering an injury in training earlier this month, knocking the 21-year-old of the crucial trip to Bayern Munich and England’s two upcoming World Cup qualifying matches, Wilshere is on track to return to the Arsenal lineup by the end of March.

A club spokesperson allayed fears of a setback to Wilshere’s wounded ankle, saying the club has told the young midfielder to rest, and that he is set to return when Arsenal face Reading on March 30. The North London club are in desperate need of Wilshere’s quality in midfield, being in danger of missing out on Champions League qualification for the first time since 1999.

QUICK KICKS

Blackburn Rovers have fired Michael Appleton, just 67 days onto the job, which follows the firings of Steve Kean and Henning Berg earlier in the season. (REPORT)

Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho is now the subject of fresh rumors that he will return to Inter Milan once he leaves the Spanish capital. (REPORT)

Germany coach Joachim Löw believes that the small nations in UEFA qualifying should have to pre-qualify before playing the big boys on the continent. Germany has a home-and-home series the next two matches with Kazakhstan. (REPORT)

Real Madrid and Argentina national team legend Alfredo Di Stefano believes that the new Pope was one of the people he played street soccer with when they were growing up. (REPORT)

Monterrey forward Humberto Suazo has rejected a call-up to join Chile in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Peru and Uruguay because he believes he isn’t fit enough to play. (REPORT)

There will be a nearly 100 percent home atmosphere in Honduras, with only 500 or so Mexican fans expected in San Pedro Sula to see Mexico take on Honduras. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Where does Owen rank for you as a top-class striker? Feel that Neymar made the right decision in his final three? Do you see Wilshere coming back when expected?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in European Soccer, Featured, South American Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Tuesday Kickoff: Owen to retire at season’s end, Neymar down to three potential teams, and more

  1. Old School says:

    I really don’t see Neymar going anywhere but Barcelona.

  2. ed - houston says:

    I remember Owen’s goal against Argentina in the knock out rounds. He was but 17 i believe. Too bad he could not come over to the states for a season.

    • Josh D says:

      He was 18, and even though he didn’t reach the heights he should of due to injuries, he will always be a legend. On his day, he was unstoppable as a striker.

      There were rumors of a move here, but I guess he’s now given up. I hope he gets one more run out and a goal. As a Man United fan, he deserves it.

  3. 21 says:

    Poor Owen. why did he ever join Man U back in 09? He should have signed for a Stoke or Sunderland. That way he could have been a starter and even if injuries, would still be scoring like 10 goals a season. He never did give up his England dream

  4. RK says:

    RM really did a disservice with Owen, stashing him on the bench — yet he set a record for goals per minute in La Liga because he always came in as a sub to score.

  5. jim in Atlanta says:

    Neymar would fail at Barcelona. He doesn’t fit there style of play.i think he would be much better at Madrid, Chelsea or city.

  6. beto says:

    sounds like Naymar to Madrid and Falcao to Barca and Mourinho to Kazakstan…

  7. dan says:

    Neymar is a fool, kinda hope he fails in Europe now.

    • Old School says:

      That’s kind of harsh.

      He’s a special talent, I want to see him ply his trade in Europe to see how it translates.

    • Charles says:

      Well if Dan says so.

      I hope that Neymar isn’t too hurt by this.

  8. Georges Jean says:

    Neymar must face the World Cup 2014 pressure first before deciding a move! With the favorite teams to possibly win the World Cup 2014: Germany, Italy, Spain…Brazil “only” have the Confederations Cup 2013 to see if they can pass through the Champions: Spain, China, Uruguay….Not irrelevant on this point: 18th place in World FIFA Ranking is a total downhill for Brazil. Ask Pele, and he’ll you what the favorites are to win the World Cup 2014! Neymar needs to be physically strong like the pure striker O Fenomeno, Ronaldo -1994-2002-to make his presence known on the pitch!

    • Bob says:

      As a note, FIFA rankings mean little for the host nation of an upcoming World Cup. By not playing in the heavily-weighed qualifiers, the rankings of the host nation plummet as they simply do not have the opportunity for the points. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Brazil’s rankings in the low-20s by the time they play the Confederations Cup and then in the mid-teens before WC kickoff.

      • Georges Jean says:

        To a certain point, international matches, irrespective of “friendlies”, Copa America…do aggregate to show where a team stands. For instance, a team which is below the top-ten in World FIFA Ranking [host nation or not] is not flattered to thrive neither the Confederations Cup nor the World Cup 2014! If we envisage Spain, it’s not a surprise that they won the World Cup 2010 [being on top of FIFA Ranking]. Realistically speaking, the reigning champions, Spain may win both the Confederations Cup 2013 and the World Cup 2014! Remember, the teams in the Confederations Cup are ALL champions coming from many places. The true test for a host nation, in this argument, is to show how well you can perform prior to being into the pressure of a World Cup. Visit http://www.22222.webs.com to see the “Prognosis 2014″.

  9. Deacon says:

    Barcelona? That’s we’re all playmakers outside of the chosen one go to perish in mediocrity. He’ll just become another piece in the messi puzzle, serving as a passing pad and occasional assist maker.

    If it really comes down to those three. Pick Chelsea, become their commanding player and stay in the boxing match with messi/Ronaldo

  10. manicmessiah says:

    I’m not as resentful as most Newcastle fans towards Owen. But after Liverpool he seemed to be looking for the biggest club who would pay his wages, rather than actually playing. It’s been reported that he’s more interested in his race horses than football, which I can believe. Still, he was a great player before he came to the toon. Guess I am resentful.

    As far as Neymar, I would be wary of Barcelona. Though a different player, he wouldn’t be the first forward player to be sacrificed on the altar of Messi (not blaming Messi).

  11. fischy says:

    Why would Owen retire, when MLS still beckons?

  12. Tiny says:

    how about the MISL

  13. bryan says:

    interesting comments by Low