Wayne Rooney says he did not dive or try to get Bastian Schweinsteiger sent off during Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Bayern Munich in Tuesday’s Champions League clash.
The incident occurred in the closing seconds of the quarter-final first leg at Old Trafford when Rooney gathered the ball outside his 18 yard box and took a heavy touch that he and the Bayern center midfielder raced to. Rooney got to the ball before Schweinsteiger’s sliding challenge that made minimal contact with the United striker.
Rooney went down under the tackle, claiming it was necessary to avoid injury. Schweinsteiger was shown his second yellow by referee Carlos Velasco Carballo and thereafter confronted Rooney about the incident.
“I don’t really want to say what he said but I think it’s a foul,” Rooney stated. “It could have gone either way. He could have hurt me, he’s gone in with his studs and the referee has booked him, so it’s not my decision. It’s not nice to see anyone sent off and I didn’t try to get him sent off. The referee has made a decision. I’ve tried to stop myself getting hurt and the referee has had a decision to make.”
Rarely one to go down to gain an advantage, there’s a strong chance Rooney would have been in trouble if he didn’t hurdle Schweinsteiger’s challenge. That said, Rooney’s mid-air pull out strongly resembled Maradona-esque dramatics, regardless of his motive. It was a tough decision for the referee but given Schweinsteiger’s intent and the fact he was late to the ball by a split second, seemed logical.
Rooney added that Bayern will be fine without Schweinsteiger and Javi Martínez, who is suspended due to card accumulation. “They have got a great squad and players who will come in,” referring to players like Dante, who was rested on Tuesday.
United travel to Newcastle on Saturday (10:00am ET on NBCSN) before heading Bavaria on April 9th for the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final.