On Saturday 21st January 2017, Wayne Rooney made history by overtaking Sir Bobby Charlton as Manchester United’s all-time leading scorer with 250 goals in all competitions.
An outstanding free-kick against Stoke in the 94th minute salvaged a precious point for the Red Devils in their hunt for a spot in the top four, the bare minimum for what is expected of a club with the stature of Manchester United.
Last week they were branded the richest football club in the world, overtaking Real Madrid for the top spot in the Deloitte Football Money League.
Illustrious names have fallen short
Over the years of constant success, there has been plenty of investment in attacking players that have fallen short on what Rooney has been able to achieve.
Sir Bobby Charlton held the record for 44 years, which emphasizes the number of players who have failed to reach the uncharted level of goal-scoring abilities at the club.
Club legends such as Jack Rowley, Dennis Law and George Best all cemented their legacy before World Cup winner Sir Bobby Charlton left his mark for such an unprecedented amount of time.
A special talent
Rooney’s ability was clear to see from the moment he first represented the club at 18 years old.
He scored an incredible hat-trick on his Manchester United debut in the Champions League against Fenerbahce in 2004 to set the tempo for what was to come.
One year on he unleashed a thunderous volley against Newcastle immediately after arguing with referee Neale Barry, which was the pinnacle of his aggression and passion prevailing in a positive light.
In 2011, he scored that spectacular overhead kick against local rivals Manchester City, which was described by the player himself as the best goal he’s ever scored.
He scored 37 goals from outside of the box, including that extraordinary half volley 55-yards out against West Ham in 2014.
Surprisingly he’s only ever scored six direct free-kicks for United, starting the tally by securing his hat-trick on his debut against Fenerbahce.
13 years on he set the goal-scoring milestone with a beautifully whipped set-piece at the Bet 365 Stadium on Saturday.
Furthermore, the skipper’s strike against Stoke extended United’s unbeaten run to 17 games, which demonstrates his importance to this current team he represents as club captain.
Prestigious honors and accolades
So far in his career his most prestigious individual award is the Premier League Player of The Year 2009/2010, where he scored 34 goals, the most he has ever scored in a single season.
He also won Young Player of the Year for two successive seasons in 2005 and 2006.
Moreover he has won nearly every club competition possible for Manchester United, including: five Premier League medals, three League Cups, 1 FA Cup, 1 Champions League, 1 Fifa Club World Cup and 1 Intercontinental Cup.
Simply a legend
Rooney, 31, still has time to extend his record further, which could ultimately prolong the 44-year wait to exceed the record once again.
With an ambassador role waiting for him when he retires, it is fair to say the man was already considered a legend way before he decides to hang up his boots.
All Manchester United fans should count themselves lucky to have witnessed such an incredible achievement by one of England and Manchester United’s finest ever players.
Wayne Rooney: “It’s a great honour and I am really proud. It’s not just today, it’s from the first goal I scored for the club and it’s built up to this day.”
Sir Bobby Charlton: “I would be lying to say that I’m not disappointed to have lost the record. However, I can honestly say that I’m delighted for Wayne. He deserves his place in the history books.”
Sir Alex Ferguson: “I would like to say huge congratulations to Wayne on reaching this milestone. It is no mean feat to score so many goals and he breaks a record that has stood for over 40 years.”
Jose Mourinho: “He is obviously a legend in the history of the whole club, a legend in the history of English football, the record is in his pocket so I just want him now to be a normal player and try to score more goals for us.”
Written by Conor Lee
Follow Conor on Twitter @cmlivesports
Check out more of his writing via his excellent blog, Live Sports Reports
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