When I first started following United (and football in general) in 2008, everyone was talking about what a great player Ronaldo is, debating about whether he is better than that little dude called Messi who plays for a Spanish team named as Barcelona, arguing whether he was the best player on the planet. However, the one player that I have always looked up to the most, is that angry child who goes by the name of Wayne Rooney.
As a football noob back then, my love for Rooney was not backed up by substantial footballing reasons. Since all the peers around me had been following football for years and were all in love with Ronaldo instead, I was sure they had their reasons. But there was just something about Rooney that made me enjoy watching him. Maybe it was about his burning desire to shine and to win it for the team, as if he is some sort of spoiled angry kid who wouldn't take losing as an answer. Take the ball away from me and I'll punch you in the face. Who gives a F@%# about getting booked or sent off.
The more I learn about United, the more I can identify Rooney as the core of the football club. When Ronaldo finally left for Madrid at the end of the 08/09 season, fans got anxious over his possible replacement. Luckily, Rooney stepped up to the occasion and saw the form of his life as the front man of our team. Never will I forget how the AC Milan fan went on and on like "F#CK YOU MAN C#NTS!" right behind me when Ronaldinho scored against us in the opening minutes of the Champions League tie, and how Rooney made him shut up, blessing me with the opportunity to respond to him "IN YOUR F#CKING FACEEEE." Those were the times when Rooney was compared to the likes of Messi and Ronaldo as the three football aliens on the planet. His shiny balded forehead seemed to have a football magnet buried within, scoring 7-8 headers in a row or something like that. His presence in the penalty box became the most feared in Europe, he just couldn't stop scoring. It seemed like the inner beast within Rooney who was so overshadowed by Ronaldo is finally breaking out of its cage, declaring to the rest of the world that he is the best player and Manchester United is the football club.
Well, as all of you can remember, his terrorizing reign only went so far up till that Bayern game where he got that ankle injury. Especially after his disappointing performance in the world cup and after all those scandals, his career suddenly dropped from a new high to a new low, with even a part of the United fans booing and making fun of him, putting on watermelon-sized bras and all that. Until the day when he announced that he had finally decided to leave Manchester United, I was heartbroken.
Yes, unlike those skeptics I believe Rooney actually meant it; it was not some sort of cheap trick to jack up his salary. Even up to that point, I never blamed Rooney for bailing, and I actually believed he would eventually change his mind. It is not difficult to understand, is it? He was young, the entire country seemed to be blaming and mocking him, and there didn't seem to be any way to overcome those issues besides leaving behind everything and start all over in another country (Yes I don't think he was ever gonna join Man Shitty). When he alas signed a new contract, I was tearing up bad.
Once he has officially resurrected by scoring that goal, he has been deployed in a deeper role because the team needs him to, mainly due to the lack of midfield options. Until today, he has never fully matured as the deadly striker that he had seemed destined to become, mainly because his team has deprived him of the chance.
As much as I love Van Persie, for me he is forever an Arsenal man at heart. Right now he is doing all the scoring, and at times it seems Rooney is gradually turning into a forgotten man; a man who has gotten us out of so many holes over the years. I can see Rooney and Van Persie forming a deadly combo in the near future, but Fergie must soon sort out the winger problems so that Rooney can push forward and consistently play as the #10 that he is supposed to.
Anyways guys, sorry for all the rant above. I just felt like getting out my feelings towards a great player who has done so much for us.
Bless you Wazza