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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 August, 2004, 12:08 GMT 13:08 UK
Owen unveiled by Real
Michael Owen
Michael Owen was given the number 11 shirt by Real Madrid legend Alfredo di Stefano at his unveiling by the Spanish club after his move from Liverpool.

Owen's switch is expected to net Liverpool 8m plus Antonio Nunez.

"I am so proud to be wearing the number 11 shirt and I'd like to thank everyone for making me so welcome here," said the 24-year-old England striker.

"I would like to say a special thank you for being given the opportunity to play for the best team in the world."

Owen will return to England over the weekend and is expected to join up with the national team squad as they congregate to prepare for the friendly against Ukraine on Wednesday.

He made the move to the Bernabeu outfit as talks over a new contract stalled.

Owen was left on the bench for Liverpool's Champions League game against Graz AK on Tuesday so as not to be cup-tied and decrease his value.

OWEN'S LIVERPOOL CAREER
Born: 14 December, 1979
1996: Signs professional terms with Liverpool on 17th birthday
1997: Scores on his first-team debut against Wimbledon
1998: Scores his first Premiership hat-trick against Sheffield Wednesday
2001: Scores twice as Liverpool beat Arsenal 2-1 in the FA Cup Final
September: Signs a new four-year deal with the Anfield club
December: European Footballer of the Year and eighth in the World Player of the Year poll
2003:Scores his 20th goal in European competition, equalling Ian Rush's club record
2004: Leaves Liverpool for Real Madrid

With just one year left on his Liverpool contract, Owen would have been able to leave the club he has been at since he was 11-years-old for free at the end of the season.

Owen insisted he would not allow that to happen, but the Anfield bosses have decided to ensure they cash in.

"I was very happy with Michael and I wanted him to stay. The problem was he only had a year left on his contract," said Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez.

Benitez, who took over at Anfield during the summer, says he will use the money generated from the Owen transfer to continue his rebuilding at the club.

He added: "Real Madrid started talking with his agent and in the end it was an impossible situation to control."

Nunez, 25, came through the ranks at the Bernabeu but made just 11 appearances for Real last season as he found it hard to secure a regular first-team berth.

He is expected to sign a two-year contract with the option to extend the deal to a third season.

"The deal is almost done. It is only a question of tying up a few details which should be no problem although Real will retain an option to buy me back in the future," Nunez told a Spanish website.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez said: "Signing Michael Owen is following our tradition. We are signing an excellent player with talent who is able to give us something special."

Perez added: "He fits perfectly into the Real Madrid culture. Not just because of the way he plays but because of his behaviour off the pitch."




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SEE ALSO
Vieira remains at Arsenal
13 Aug 04  |  Arsenal
Graz AK 0-2 Liverpool
10 Aug 04  |  Liverpool



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