MANCHESTER: “Wayne Rooney scores for Manchester United and it’s not the last time you will hear that,” the commentator said on Rooney’s debut, even he wouldn’t have thought that he would become the club’s leading scorer.
Manchester United star Wayne Rooney’s FA Cup strike against second tier Reading took him to 249 goals in 543 games, putting him on par with Sir Bobby Charlton as the joint top scorer in the history of the club.
Rooney reached this milestone 215 matches and four seasons quicker than Charlton, whose 249th goal came in a 2-0 victory over Southampton in March 1973. The record had stood ever since that, but Rooney now seems sure to beat it since moving level with Sir Bobby Charlton as Manchester United’s all-time leading goal scorer.
With just seven minutes gone on the clock, the United captain cunningly improvised to connect his right knee to Juan Mata’s shot, guiding the ball past Al Habsi and into the net.
The home crowd energised and praised the striker at the top of their lungs. Though, Martial’s contribution to the goal should not be overlooked, the young Frenchman beat two defenders down the left to tee up Mata for the assist.
Justice was done though as Martial got the admiration he deserved and his hard work paid off when he scored United’s second after 15 minutes and again the skipper was involved, combining in a one-two that resulted in the 21-year-old going forward unchallenged before curling in an exquisite finish.
United should have been out of sight by halftime, with Rashford going close on three occasions, one of those a missed open goal, from an understandably tight angle.
The one-way traffic continued after the break with Mata firing just wide and Rooney went painfully close to a historic 250th United goal when his close-range follow-up hit the leg of the out stretched Al Habsi.
Though eventually, Reading’s defence finally broke down after constant thumping as Michael Carrick’s inch perfect pass for Rashford cut open the Reading defence and the young man finished confidently for his first goal in 18 games.
A few moments later, Al Habsi lived a nightmare, misdirecting his attempted clearance after bumping the ball with his standing leg and allowing Marcus Rashford in to fire home from just a few yards out.
No doubt Rooney has scored more eye-catching goals for United in his 543 games for the club but few goals have carried as much importance as goal number 249 for him since arriving from Everton in a £27mn deal in 2004.
“This massive club is a huge part of my life and I’m incredibly honoured to be up there alongside Sir Bobby – it’s a proud moment. To do it at a massive club like Manchester United, I’m hugely honoured.” said Rooney
United legend Paul Scholes hailed former team-mate Wayne Rooney’s ‘desire’ and ‘hunger’. The legend praised Rooney and said, “It’s been coming for a long time, he It’s great for him, we’re so happy.”
In 2015, Rooney surpassed World Cup winner Charlton's England scoring record of 49 goals and has since taken his tally to 53.
The club landmark comes during a worrying season in which the England captain has been left out of the starting line-up for both club and country, his record-equalling goal being just his fourth of the campaign.
Here are some stats of Rooney’s incredible feat:
213 inside the box, 36 outside the box, 26 goals scored on penalty kicks and 5 direct free kick.
Some magical moments from Rooney’s 249:
Overhead match winner vs Manchester City
Half-line volley vs West Ham
‘Fierce’ rocket vs Newcastle
Dream debut vs Fenerbahce
Close-range overhead vs Swansea
Quotes about Wayne
John Terry: “I’ve had the pleasure to play alongside Wayne and for me he’s England’s best EVER. I’ve seen him first-hand, doing things with the ball that I’ve never seen before.”
Lionel Messi: “It would be a dream to play with Rooney if Manchester United ever came to the point where they needed to sell him. I would personally go to the Barcelona president and ask that he be signed myself.”
Ryan Giggs: “He’s got everything, he’s tough, he’s quick, he scores goals, he can make goals. He’s a winner.”
David Beckham: “There are certain players you play with throughout your career that you like playing with for different reasons. Wayne hits all those reasons. You knew he would run through a brick for you, for himself, for the team, for the fans. That’s the type of player you want playing for England.”
Steven Gerrard: “In years to come anyone who is looking at records and looks at goals and caps, Wayne Rooney’s name will come up and I think he deserves both accolades.”
Frank Lampard: “His aggression is one of his big strengths. He has no fear at all. Wayne knows he has the ability, but he has this knack of being able to go out there and not be scared of anyone no matter who he is up against.”
Arsene Wenger: “Rooney is the biggest England talent I’ve seen since I arrived in England. There has certainly not been a player under 20 as good as him since I became a manager here.”
Cristiano Ronaldo: “He was the kid of England, everyone loved him. He was so powerful I was calling him Pitbull. The power of Wayne Rooney is his mentality and strength and he never stops. He's a fantastic team player and he scores!”
Sir Alex Ferguson: “Wayne is truly blessed. He doesn’t just have ability, he has a fire inside him.”