The 32-year-old moved to Old Trafford from Newcastle United in 2009, scoring 17 goals in 52 appearances for the Red Devils.
United opted against offering Owen a new deal, with the striker suffering an injury-plagued season, but Ferguson praised Owen’s contribution to United’s recent success and his attitude off the pitch.
“It is a pleasure to have had Michael at Manchester United,” Ferguson told United’s website.
“Michael is a consummate professional and was an influential figure in our dressing room. Unfortunately he had no luck with his injury this season.
“Michael’s record of goals per game is exceptional and we wish him all the best for the future.”
Owen, who progressed through Liverpool’s youth system before going on to score 158 goals for the Reds, won the League Cup for the third time in 2010 before adding a Premier League winners’ medal one season later.
The former Real Madrid striker revealed on his Twitter page that the 19-time English champions had decided against offering England’s seventh most-capped player a new deal.
“The manager informed me after our testimonial match on Tuesday that the club would not be offering me a new contract,” he wrote.
“I have loved every minute of the three years I have spent at such a fantastic club. I would like to thank the players, staff and fans for their support and wish them well for the future.
“I now plan to have a short holiday during which I will contemplate my next move.”
1996-2004 Liverpool – 297 appearances – 158 goals
2004-2005 Real Madrid – 45 appearances – 15 goals
2005-2009 Newcastle United – 79 appearances – 30 goals
2009-2012 Manchester United – 52 appearances – 17 goals
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