Stoke-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) – After Wayne Rooney broke Bobby Charlton’s Manchester United scoring record by scoring his 250th goal for the club, AFP Sport looks back at his career highs and lows:
Euro 2004 explosion
Rooney’s emergence as a global star can be traced back to the 2004 European Championship in Portugal, when, aged 18, he terrified opposition defences with his direct running as England reached the quarter-finals. His four goals saw him named in UEFA’s Team of the Tournament and he left boyhood club Everton for Manchester United shortly after in a £27 million ($32.8 million, 31.1 million euros) transfer.
Aged just 22, Rooney scaled the highest peak in the European club game as United defeated domestic rivals Chelsea in a penalty shootout on a rain-sodden night in Moscow to win the 2007-08 Champions League. Teamed with Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez in a potent three-pronged attack, Rooney also lifted the second of the five Premier League trophies he has won to date.
England and United captain
In the space of a month in the summer of 2014, Rooney was named captain by both United and England, respectively succeeding Nemanja Vidic and Steven Gerrard. Rooney described then United manager Louis van Gaal’s decision to hand him the armband as a “huge honour” and said captaining his country was “beyond my wildest dreams”.
Claiming Charlton’s records
Rooney broke Charlton’s 45-year-old England scoring record by netting his 50th international goal from the penalty spot in a Euro 2016 qualifier against Switzerland at Wembley in October 2015. With 119 caps, he is already England’s most-capped outfield player and needs seven further appearances to surpass Peter Shilton’s all-time record. He broke Charlton’s United goals record in January 2017, scoring his 250th goal for the club with a stoppage-time equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Stoke City.
Rooney was tipped to be one of the stars of the 2006 World Cup after two impressive seasons with United, but he broke a bone in his foot in a 3-0 defeat at Chelsea six weeks before the tournament began. After undergoing intensive treatment, he was declared fit to play in Germany and strode into the England team hotel booming: “The big man is back in town!” But his tournament ended in shame when he was sent off in the quarter-finals for stamping on Portugal’s Ricardo Carvalho.
Broadside at fans
Rooney top-scored for England with nine goals in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, but he flopped at the tournament in South Africa, where Fabio Capello’s side were humiliated by Germany in the last 16. The burly striker snapped as he walked off the pitch following a dismal 0-0 draw with Algeria in the group phase, sarcastically scowling at a television camera: “Nice to see your home (own) fans booing you!”
Frozen out by Ferguson
Alex Ferguson’s final home game as United manager was a festive and emotional affair as the Scot’s record-breaking tenure in the Old Trafford dug-out culminated in a 2-1 win over Swansea City in May 2013. But Rooney was a conspicuous absentee after Ferguson revealed he had asked to leave the club for the second time in three years. The Liverpudlian had previously submitted a transfer request in October 2010. His two attempts to leave partly explain why Rooney has never been held as close to the hearts of United’s fans as some of the club’s other greats.
Euro 2016 humiliation
Rooney went into last year’s European Championship in France intending to make up for a succession of disappointments in major tournaments. Deployed in a new midfield role by manager Roy Hodgson, he was praised for his initial group-stage displays. His penalty put England ahead against Iceland in the last 16, but the minnows roared back to win 2-1 and condemn England to their biggest humiliation since a 1-0 loss to the amateurs of the United States at the 1950 World Cup.
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