By Antonney Oduor
A 22-Year-old Michael won the Balloon D’or after beating Raul Gonzalez of Real Madrid. But how did he win the award at such a tender age?
Precarious Owen quickly displayed how talented he was. In 1998 he was voted best young player in the Premier League by the federation. In the same year, the BBC nominated him as the Sports Personality of the year.
Unfortunately, the Englishman suffered a serious knee injury. It was too sad for Michael but he explored an extraordinary mental strength. During the 2000-2001 season, Owen was simply phenomenal.
He became the best Liverpool player and contributed largely to their incredible season. The Reds won 5 titles: the Europa cup, the FA cup, the League cup, the Euro super cup, and the charity shield.
Everyone thinks that Owen had the silkiest touch but despite his talent, he was far from being a favorite of the Balloon D’or. That year the best player in the World was Raul Gonzalez. An outstanding scorer and always smiling, the Spaniard scored 41 goals in 56 appearances with Real Madrid. It was unbelievable and people thought that Raul was destined to win the award. But Owen stole his standards a few days before the voting took place.
On Saturday 1st September 2001, the Englishman played the best game of his life in the qualifying game for the 2002 World Cup. England thrashed Germany 5 to 1 and Owen Scored a hattrick and drew attention to himself. But how could such a 22-year-old kid humiliate such a big footballing nation?
The Journalists were convinced and changed their minds to Michael and 4 months later Owen won the Balloon D’or and beat Raul by 36 votes. Unfair for the Spaniard Raul but just a reward for the Englishman. Unfortunately, his time to shine lasted for one season. His downfall lasted a lot longer with Real Madrid, Newcastle, and Manchester United. People called him the white Pele but he lived to be only a shadow of his own self. He lost his passion for football.
‘At the end of my career, I couldn’t wait for it to stop. Because it wasn’t me anymore, after my first tendon injury it was over. I had to change the way I played I wasn’t able to score anymore or tackle players, or make plays, or even run fast. I was terrified making surges, knowing I’d get hurt.
Sometimes early success may not help young talents. Owen became a big flop of the award. These days he is a pundit of Sky Sports regretting his career how it ended painfully.