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Stoke striker Owen: I've been thinking about retirement for months

Stoke City striker Michael Owen admits retirement had been on his mind since Christmas.

Owen, who began his career with Liverpool before spells with Real Madrid, Newcastle and Manchester United, confirmed that he first decided to quit football some months ago.

"It has been coming for a while and before Christmas, I knew this would be my last season," he admitted.

"I signed for Stoke at the start of the season and really wanted to have a good year and play on further but it has not quite happened and I wanted to go out at the top of the Premier League. It has been coming a while, but I am pleased with the decision."

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