Just three years removed from winning the Ballon d’Or, Owen was the latest high-profile player after the likes of David Beckham, Roberto Carlos, Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo to become part of Real’s Galacticos.
However, the move did not work out, with Owen netting just 16 goals and returning to England after one season in an ill-fated move to Newcastle.
Speaking to his former Liverpool team-mate and close friend Jamie Carragher on ‘The Greatest Game’ podcast, Owen revealed the reasons behind his Anfield departure.
“I’ve got no problem with the stick that would come my way for [moving to Real Madrid] because I decided I can’t miss out on the opportunity to try playing for Real Madrid,” Owen said.
“I can’t really put my finger on it but I might have wanted Rafa Benitez, when he came over to Portugal and sat you, me and Stevie down, to say ‘Michael, I want you to be our centre-forward for the next ten years’.
“Maybe because he didn’t say that I thought ‘If he’s not that bothered and Real Madrid want me then [I’ll go]’.
“I can only compare it to being a boxer when they make a comeback at 40. In your mind you always think you’re better than you are.
“It might have been a comforting thing that the biggest club in the world wanted me.”
Owen was never again able to hit the heights he reached at Anfield where he won the FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Cup, Community Shield and UEFA Cup in 2001 along with a second League Cup triumph in 2003.
The 40-year-old has also weighed in on the Gerrard vs Scholes vs Lampard debate.