Michael Owen explains why he didn't form a close relationship with David Beckham at Real Madrid
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Michael Owen has admitted that he wasn't close off the pitch with David Beckham whilst the former England duo were teammates at Real Madrid.
Owen and Beckham are two of the biggest names English football has produced with both starting their careers as teenagers, staring for Liverpool and Manchester United respectively as well as for the Three Lions.
The former was just 18 when he scored his famous solo goal against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup whilst the latter was 17 when he made his senior debut for the Red Devils having come through the academy.
Owen scored a hatful of goals as a teenager for the Reds and became a cult hero at Anfield whereas Beckham, although not as prolific in the final third, was also adored by his fans who were proud to see an academy product succeed in the first team.
It was rare to see British players playing abroad, let alone two at the same club, which instantly made fans back home assume that the duo would form a tight-knit bond off the pitch.
Although, according to Owen, that wasn't the case with the former striker explaining the two rarely spoke outside of football.
"As much as we ended up living close to David and Victoria Beckham and were two English families living abroad in the same city, there wasn't much in the way of social life as far as them and us were concerned," Owen wrote in his autobiography.
"Given that both Louise and Victoria were quite lonely and both looking after young kids, they'd occasionally see each other while we were training. That was the extent of the friendship, however.
"This perhaps wasn't a surprise given that, by the time we found ourselves in Madrid together, David and I had even less in common than we ever had."
Beckham's style and flair off the pitch was also spoken about during his time in Madrid, but that wasn't of Owen's interest, as he pointed out.
"I certainly didn't like wearing the trendy gear or mingling among socialite company. David and Victoria on the other hand, were both bona fide superstars in their own right.
"They were operating on a completely different stratosphere from a social perspective. I never once got the impression I was on the inner circle of David's group of friends."
Owen made even more scathing comments though when reflecting on England's elimination from the 1998 World Cup after Beckham was sent off for kicking Diego Simeone.
"While it was clearly pre-meditated, it was immature and petulant more than it was violent. But for me, that almost makes it worse," Owen claimed.
"All I can say is that, as I sit here now writing this book, knowing how lucky a player is to appear in one World Cup, never mind more than one, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that what David did that day hadn’t let every single one of that England team down.
"Did he deserve the abuse he got afterwards? Certainly not. What human being needs to see his or her effigy being burned? But David let us down, and I still hold some resentment about it today."