Michael Owen says he is looking forward to a “nerve-racking” new challenge after leaving Liverpool to join Real Madrid.,/h3>

The 24-year-old joined Madrid last week after spending his entire career at the Premier League club.

“I gave 100 percent for Liverpool but, when you have been somewhere for 13 years, maybe it comes too naturally,” he told Monday’s Times newspaper.

“It is the same route to work every morning, the same faces and you are the top goalscorer every season. You are not reaching for that extra yard from yourself and it is not for the want of trying. That is just nature, it is life.

“Now I’m certainly going to have to stretch myself. I am pleased and proud of myself for making that step out of the comfort zone and going for something that is a bit scary, a bit nerve-racking.

“Part of my brain was saying ‘just let your career run down, you’re safe here, your family is around you, everyone likes you.’ But I felt the drive to better myself as a person and as a player.”

Owen joins England team mates David Beckham and Jonathan Woodgate in the Spanish capital. He acknowledged that he will have a fight on his hands securing a place n the starting eleven.

“Now I have to prove myself at Real and I know that, in Ronaldo, Raul and Fernando Morientes, they have three of the best strikers in the world,” said Owen.

“I am different from all of them, which can only be a good thing. I expect I’ll have to sit on the bench once or twice, but so will everyone.”

“It is a challenge but that is why I came here. I’ve had this sneaky suspicion all along that it will work out well,” added Owen.

“I don’t know if it’s an English trait to settle for what you’ve got, but I was taken aback when the first thing some people said was ‘how’s he going to get into that team?”‘

Owen said he decided to leave Liverpool because of their inability to compete wit the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United.

“Money never came into it, just pure ambition. To have stayed would have been like anyone turning down a promotion. If you are going to be a top, top player then you have to win the league.

“I have total respect for Arsenal and Manchester United lads who keep winning everything, but it does fill you with jealousy, envy. When you see their medals, you think ‘I could be doing that,”‘ he said.