He scored a goal. It is the most precious knack in football and he does it naturally. He scored 13 for Real Madrid in 20 league starts last season, 32 for England in 70 appearances. Before leaving Liverpool for Madrid, and after playing for so long in a team congenitally incapable of best exploiting his finishing touch, he was on course to shatter the club's scoring records, a club boasting such old boys as Ian Rush, Kenny Dalglish and Robbie Fowler.
Owen is 25 years old, a conspicuously dedicated professional who has always made the game his priority. Yet it appears he is condemned to the margins in Madrid. It is more than missed opportunity. It is an offence against natural justice.