It was the end of an era at Old Trafford with the departure of Wayne Rooney earlier this week. A talismanic and divisive figure among fans, pundits and neutrals alike, one cannot deny his status in the plethora of United legends. Rooney has provided us with countless moments of brilliance such as the hat trick against Arsenal, the volley from the half way line against West Ham or that performance in the Champions League against Italy’s mighty AC Milan. In a late tribute the former United No.10, we look at those moments that are a cut above the rest in Wayne’s career:
THAT HAT TRICK ON DEBUT
Rooney’s career at Old Trafford got off the best possible start in the Champions League against Fenerbache. It was some night for the teenager.
Just 17 minutes into the match, Rooney scored his first goal and United’s second of the night. Played in by van Nistelrooy, Rooney finished emphatically from 20 yards out and gave us his first ever knee slide on the Old Trafford turf.
Less than 10 minutes later, it was two for Rooney as his feint saw Rooney create space for himself. After a touch to set himself up, Rooney unleashed a 25 yard strike to score again. Rooney was not to be denied his hatrick as he struck home a brilliant freekick from just outside the penalty box. His powerful and curling effort beat the goalkeeper’s outstretched hand and won Rooney his first United matchball.
The fixture will always hold a special place in Wayne heart.
FOUR VS HULL
It was Rooney’s most prolific match in a United shirt. Emulating Ole Gunnar Solskajaer’s four in a game in 1999, Hull were swept aside by the Rooney show. After opening the scoring in the eight minute, Rooney went scoreless until the 82nd minute, when he got his second. After that, the floodgates opened as Wazza got two in the remaining time against a hapless Hull with the last goal coming in added time. It was a typical Rooney match with terrific impact and doing all the scoring. Rooney could have had FIVE but was denied by the crossbar.
Rooney was playing some of the best football of his career and was scoring goals for fun. Hull boss Phil Brown was right in his assessment by saying: “After what I’ve just witnessed, I’d have to say Rooney is one of the best players in the world.”
Rooney scored all of United’s goals in the match and fired United to the top of the League.
OVERHEAD VS CITY
The greatest Rooney moment is easily the overhead kick and the celebration against Manchester City. Linked with a move to the ‘noisy neighbors’ earlier on in the season, Rooney stunned City on and off the field in the 2010-12 season.
It was not the best of crosses’ from Nani but Rooney stopped and unleashed an overhead kick that was declared as the best United goal he had ever seen by Sir Alex Ferguson. Rooney also described it as the best and most important goal of his career later on. It was a goal of monumental size. It turned to be the winner in an important match in the record breaking season for United as the club clinched title No.19 and knocked Liverpool of their perch.
Here’s to Wayne and his glorious career!