At the age of 35, Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney has called time on an illustrious footballing career.
For so long, he was the face of not only the most successful English team in recent memory but of the Premier League itself. In his prime, Rooney was undoubtedly the best out-and-out striker on the planet, as well as the undisputed king of the Barclays Premier League, as it was known then.
The former England captain ends his playing career as the leading goalscorer for his country, and for United, the club with which he spent the most time. In the Premier League itself, his remarkable goal tally of 208 is second only to Alan Shearer.
“Wazza”, as he is affectionately known to teammates, burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old prodigy at boyhood club Everton, whom he grew up supporting.
Despite being a teenager, his mature frame, strength and undoubted talent soon saw him eyed by Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, who bought the striker for a then astronomical fee north of £25 million in 2004.
Nearly two decades on, that sum looks like a steal, as Rooney (alongside a certain Cristiano Ronaldo, prior to his Real days) helped end Arsenal’s Invincibles era, winning five league titles in seven years.
In that time, Rooney would win accolade after accolade, including the ’07/08 Champions League, but strangely never a Golden Boot, which speaks volumes of his team-first mindset. By the time he was named club captain in 2014 however, he was already on the decline, as persistent injuries and a sharp drop off in pace left him shorn of his former strengths.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MaJ09WMl7M
To counter this, he was played deeper and deeper, a key figure in a rebuilding United team. Rooney would eventually leave the Red Devils in 2017 as their greatest forward of the Premier League era, for one final PL stint at Everton.
In recent years, Rooney has wound down his career in the MLS with DC United, and latterly as player/coach and player/manager at Derby County in the Championship. Now, with his recent appointment as permanent manager at Pride Park, the Croxteth native has formally announced an end to a glittering career.
A prodigiously talented youngster, who became an all-time leading scorer for club and country – that is what fans will remember of Wayne Rooney’s amazing career.
Despite what may have been, the trophies, awards and statistics Rooney accumulated speak for themselves; he leaves behind an indelible legacy as one of the greats of English football.
What is your favourite Wayne Rooney moment?