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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Michael Owen joined English champion Manchester United on Friday, a striking reversal of fortune for an injury-plagued forward who has been dropped from the national team by manager Fabio Capello.

The 29-year-old, who has 40 goals in 89 international appearances, signed a two-year contract. The former Liverpool and Real Madrid player was a free agent after his contract expired Tuesday at relegated Newcastle.

“I never though it in my wildest dreams really. When I got the call from the manager to come and meet him, it was a shock,” Owen said. “I know there will be a few people saying the manager shouldn’t have bought me.”

Owen’s agent had been so concerned about finding him a new club that he sent a 32-page brochure to teams around Europe trumpeting his enduring qualities and rebutting fitness fears.

United has watched Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez depart since losing the Champions League final to Barcelona.

“Michael is a world-class forward with a proven goal-scoring record at the highest level, and that has never been in question,” United manager Alex Ferguson said. “Coming to Manchester United with the expectations that we have is something that Michael will relish.”

Owen underwent stringent medical examinations on his troublesome right knee before the contract was signed.

“I’m sure a club like this can re-ignite my career,” Owen said. “I do not feel that I am injury prone.”

He scored 10 goals in 32 matches last season at Newcastle, which finished 18th at 7-18-13, and had 30 goals in 79 games since joining the club in 2005।

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