After spending 13 trophy-laden seasons at Manchester United, Wayne Rooney has departed with the 31-year-old re-joining his boyhood club Everton over the weekend.
[ MORE: Everton confirm Rooney signing ]
The end to Rooney’s career at United was surprisingly low-key but the Red Devils’ all-time leading goalscorer will go down in history after winning the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, five Premier League titles, one FA Cup and three League Cups during his time at Old Trafford.
He has to be in with a shout of being United’s greatest-ever player, right?
That trophy haul, plus becoming the leading goalscorer for club and country, vindicated his decision to leave Everton as an 18-year-old, but where does he rank in the pantheon of United greats?
Strangely, Rooney’s incredible goals, huge number of trophies and longevity seems to be overlooked by many with Duncan Edwards, Sir Bobby Charlton, George Best, Denis Law, Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane, Eric Cantona and Cristiano Ronaldo all jostling for the accolade as United’s greatest-ever player.
Rooney almost leaving for Manchester City and his falling out with Sir Alex Ferguson may not sit well, still, with some United fans, but it should not be so easy to forget the magic moments Rooney provided. That bicycle kick against Man City. The debut hat trick against Fenerbache. Winning goals against rivals like Arsenal and Liverpool at key moments throughout his Old Trafford career.
The list goes on and on.
Forced to reinvent himself under Louis Van Gaal, Rooney has come in for plenty of stick over the past two seasons. Some of it is just, but at 31 years of age you feel like he still has plenty to give. Just not at United.
Returning to Everton will give him a chance to regain his form and sharpness as he gets to play regularly. It may also help United’s fans appreciate what they had and for how long they had it.
Sure, Rooney’s play has regressed over the past two seasons but that shouldn’t erase the 11 seasons before that when he was United’s main man and delivered time and time again on his way to 253 goals in 559 games.
When all is said and done, despite becoming United’s all-time leading goalscorer Rooney will probably rank in the following position when it comes to the greatest players in club history. (Eric Cantona, Paul Scholes and Denis Law just missed out on being in the top five).
- Sir Bobby Charlton – Scored 249 goals in 758 games and led United to three league titles, a European Cup and FA Cup
- Ryan Giggs – 963 apppearances (most ever) and won 22 major titles, most decorated player in history
- George Best – Scored 181 goals in 481 appearances for United over 11 years, won a European Cup and two league titles
- Wayne Rooney – Scored 253 goals in 559 games, won five league titles, European Cup, Europa League, three League Cups and FA Cup
- Cristiano Ronaldo – Scored 118 goals in 292 games, won three league titles, European Cup, two League Cups and FA Cup