England and Manchester United top scorer Wayne Rooney has announced his retirement from professional football to become the full-time manager of Derby County. During his illustrious career, Rooney has won the English league title 5 times and the Champions League title once with Manchester United.
Over the years, Rooney has mesmerized fans with impeccable performances and here are 5 of the most memorable ones.
#5 Everton vs Arsenal, English Premier League, 2002
It was the game that announced his arrival to the world of football. He became the 16-year-old prodigy, who ended the 30-match unbeaten run of Arsenal with a sumptuous curling shot from 25-yards out.
With the game tied at 1-1, Rooney was sent on to the pitch with 10 minutes remaining to try and get a winner and he repaid his manager’s faith with an incredible goal.
It was a strike that showed all of Rooney’s attributes: technique, control, and confidence, which is rare to find in a 16-year old. Rooney almost scored a 2nd in the last minute of injury time with a chip from outside the box, but missed the goal by inches. After the match, Arsene Wenger was quoted saying that Rooney was the best U-20 English player he has seen since he took charge of Arsenal.
#4 England vs Croatia, Euro 2004
It was in Euro 2004 that Wayne Rooney announced himself in the international stage. Rooney inspired England to a 4-2 win with two goals and an assist to his name after his side had gone a goal down. Rooney’s winner from outside the box at the cusp of half-time was the highlight of the match.
He scored his second of the day after a quick one-two with Owen and he calmly slotted the ball into the bottom corner. It was the second brace of the tournament for Rooney after scoring one against Switzerland in the previous match.
#3 Manchester United vs Fenerbahce, UEFA Champions League, 2004
Although Rooney’s talent was clear, quite a few eyebrows were raised when Manchester United splashed a huge amount to get the 18-year-old. But Rooney cleared all the doubts by netting a hat-trick in his debut against Fenerbahce in the group stages helping the team win 6-2.
It was a debut that any player would have dreamed of. Three top goals any striker would have been proud of. Two goals from outside the box including a free-kick and a cool finish after a marauding run before receiving the ball. This performance made the doubters in the football world realize that Sir Alex Ferguson had a gem in his hands.
#2 Manchester United vs Arsenal, English Premier League, 2011
This is a memorable match for the Manchester United fans as fierce rivals Arsenal were ruthlessly beaten. Wayne Rooney ran the show with a hat-trick and an assist to his name. It was a fine performance from the Manchester United legend as he scored his first two from cleverly placed freekicks and then, completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute. The first of the three goals was his 150th strike for United.
But it was not just the goals as Rooney was a joy to watch in the game as he had also set up Nani’s goal.
#1 Manchester United vs Manchester City, English Premier League, 2011
Although there were several better all-round performances from Rooney, this just had to be the best. Old Trafford erupted when Rooney scored arguably the best goal in the history of the premier league to gift them the win. Sir Alex Ferguson described the goal as the best he has ever seen in his whole managerial career and Rooney himself admitted that it was the best goal he has ever scored. While some of the performances grabbed their spots cause of the significance, others did it because of incredible skill. The football universe will miss Wayne Rooney, a Legend of the beautiful game.