Owen Hargreaves, the man who won it all but could have done so much more.
The tale of Owen Hargreaves is a mightily sad one. Indeed, it is the kind of story we know the start, the middle and the end to. The kind that still shocks us when we learn of the unrelenting tragedy that befalls the protagonist and prompts us to say ‘surely something has to go right for him now, no one can be this unlucky’. The kind where the main character comes out on top at the end, but loses a leg, two arms, one eye and an ear. A manifestation of the true meaning of the phrase ‘bittersweet’.
The Canadian-born sensation made his way into the spotlight as a teenager and under the bullish leadership of Bayern Munich’s Ottmar Hitzfeld, as well as some of the finest proponents of the beautiful game the nation had to offer, in Lothar Matthaus and Oliver Kahn, embarked on his journey to international stardom with typical German efficiency.
Hargreaves likely thought he had stepped into a new stratosphere when he signed for Manchester United in 2007, and he did…to an extent.
The midfielder etched his name into the history books when he scored the winner against Arsenal to send United cruising at the top of the table with a six-point lead, but it was his performance in the Champions League final that really had the Red Devils salivating.
The Englishman managed 120 minutes against Chelsea and had to composure to score Manchester United’s fourth penalty in the shootout. Hardly surprising given the time he spent in Germany.
Hargreaves had peaked.
A reoccurring knee problem described by a surgeon with 35 years of experience in the field as the worst he had ever seen (as per the Independent) saw him out of action until his departure in 2011, and though he experienced success with Manchester City, he retired at the age of 31.
Truly one of the greatest talents this country has seen, just one that was unfortunately marred by injury.
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