Michael Owen has revealed he tried to engineer a return to Liverpool on a number of occasions after leaving Anfield.
Real Madrid paid Liverpool £8million to sign England striker Owen, who scored over 150 goals for the Reds, in the summer of 2004.
Owen spent only 12 months at the Bernabeu before pining for a return.
“At every stage – every summer – I was on the phone to Carra (Jamie Carragher) telling him to find a way to get me back,” says Owen in Simon Hughes’ new book Ring of Fire.
“‘Does Rafa want me?’ I’d say. ‘Does Kenny want me? Does Brendan want me?’ It was circumstance that stopped it happening.
“Whenever I was available, Liverpool had too many strikers. And when Liverpool wanted me, I was injured. By the end, I wasn’t the player I had been before and they simply didn’t fancy me. I wasn’t good enough.”
Owen went on to sign for Newcastle in 2005, but hoped to rejoin Liverpool after the Magpies relegation four years later, only to join fierce rivals Manchester United.
“I spoke to Carra and tried to get (Rafa) Benitez to do something. I wanted to try to put it right somehow,” he added.
“When it became clear Benitez didn’t want to do a deal, I spoke again with (Alex) Ferguson. He was very positive about me. I was twenty-nine years old. Should I have decided to retire there and then?”
Owen spent three years at Old Trafford before finishing his career at Stoke.