Wayne Rooney has been one of the greatest players ever to grace the Theatre of Dreams, but it may be time for Manchester United to let the legend add to his nest egg by living out his playing days in China.
Now that the Red Devils legend has surpassed Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time goal scoring record to become the top scorer in the club’s history, there is not much left for Rooney to achieve at United. He has won everything, earned the captaincy, and will always be a hero from the fans’ perspective. As Kurt Cobain once wrote, “It’s better to burn out than to fade away,” and it would be best for Rooney to move on now before he turns into an even more peripheral figure at Old Trafford.
Jose Mourinho has made it clear how much he respects the 31-year-old, but it is also evident that the Portuguese doesn’t view Rooney as an integral part of the team anymore. In this new-look United attack there is no room for the tired legs of Rooney, a player who has been turning up week in, week out since the age of 16 and is quite rightly more worn down than other players of his age.
Rooney still has the skill, fitness, and vision to play at the top level for a few more years, but lacks the cutting edge and pace required to justify his starting role in the Premier League. The England captain could easily manage a few more years in the much less gruelling Chinese Super League, though. According to reports, the incredibly rich Far East clubs are ready to offer the five-time Premier League winner £1million-a-week to sign. This would make him the highest paid player in footballing history, ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez.
There is no denying that Rooney will be sorely missed by everyone in the red half of Manchester, but it is only fair to let him leave and cash-in on the remaining years of his career. And if it does come to pass, Wayne, thanks for the memories, you’ve been a star.