It’s time for Rooney to return home to Goodison Park after 13 very successful years in Manchester. He’s won pretty much everything there is to win, he’s broken record after record and found himself the subject of plenty of headlines for both his on and off-field antics.
He’s probably got the best Twitter account of any professional footballer ever, and has left United fans with some special memories. Some they’d probably rather forget.
We take a look some of the best moments of his time at Old Trafford, as the love affair finally comes to an end.
Whitney has passed away. RIP u will live on forever. Cant believe it. I wanna run to u. Really cant believe this. @
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) February 12, 2012
You’re an 18-year-old, that’s come from a club in a rival city, and you want to make your presence known at Manchester United. How do you do it? By blasting in a hat-trick on your debut. Oh yeah, and do that in a Champions League game while you’re at it.
Wayne Rooney did exactly that, alongside an assist for good measure, in his opening game against Fenerbahce at Old Trafford. United won 6-2, and the crowd were in complete awe of the scouse wonderkid in front of their eyes. Talk about making your mark.
Manchester derby overhead kick
Even though everybody on social media – or just about any rival fan – will try to say it was a shinner, does it really matter? It’s probably one of the most famous goals in Premier League history, and what way to do it other than in a derby game.
Plus, we’re all still pretty amazed Rooney managed to get his body into this position, so there’s that.
It’s tough at the top
When it comes to breaking records, this Evertonian is no stranger. The word legend is sometimes banded around a little too much, but to beat the goal-scoring record of Sir Bobby Charlton is deserving of the title.
His 250th goal came in a 1-1 draw against Stoke – but was a lot sexier than it sounds. The superb free-kick came four minutes into stoppage time, to save United from defeat and extend their then-unbeaten run to 13 games. He waited two weeks to break the record after levelling it with his 249th goal in the FA Cup third-round against Reading.
It came at a time when many – myself included – were vocalising their disdain with the skipper. But what a way to shut us all up.
It’s one of the topics that often comes up when this man’s name is mentioned. Can you really love a club if you seem so determined to leave it?
We know one of the requests, at the start of the 2010/11 season, definitely happened. It has always been a bit of a question as to why. He was having a bit of a ‘Rooney Moment’, i.e. a trough of form where it looks like he’s playing five-a-side, with virtually no first touch and shoulders slumped in misery. Was he playing the club for more money? Did he genuinely want out? Had he just seen his arse a bit? Who knows.
The second ‘request’ supposedly came in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final year at the club. There were various reports which suggested this was a relationship headed for the rocks quicker than Steph Davies and Jeremy McConnell, but Rooney actually publicly denied the rumour several times after. We’ll never know, and you can see why some fans choose and others refuse to judge him on wanting out.
— @ManUtd_HQ 🔴 (@ManUtd_HQ) July 5, 2017
First Premier League title
Wazza got his first taste of league success in 2007, as United snagged the title with plenty of room to spare as the season ended. The winning streak didn’t stop there though, as his side went onto do a three-peat and secure another two consecutive league trophies.
He then went onto snag five of these babies in his time at Old Trafford, which, by the way, is still five more than Steven Gerrard.
Champions of England, Champions of Europe
It’s easy to forget in his latter years at the club just how successful Rooney was. He’s got 12 major honours, countless silverware and a fancy new hair transplant.
That all-England final in 2008 against Chelsea – the first one in UCL history – was the stuff of legend. It may have been settled by a penalty shoot-out and some tears from John Terry, but this lad from Croxteth still got to lift that big-eared trophy in the air at the end of the day.
Wearing the armband
His call-up to skipper status may have come from an unlikely source, Louis van Gaal, but the captaincy did come for United’s current longest serving player. His ability to guide the team through games without losing his head has come into question several times since, but still, it’s something you can’t take away from him, having captained both his club and country.
League Cup Final match-winner
In his time at Old Trafford, Roo played in three Champions League finals, three League Cup finals and two FA Cup finals. In those games, he’s found the back of the net three times.
Only once has he scored the winning goal, which came against Aston Villa in the 2010 League Cup final. United had gone a goal down in the first three minutes, before a Michael Owen equaliser. Rooney eventually put his side ahead in the 74th minute with a header, and the trophy was added to United’s near-bursting cabinet.
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