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

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

South American Soccer

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.

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