Jose Mourinho has hailed Wayne Rooney as a legend after the captain broke Sir Bobby Charlton’s club goalscoring record during Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Stoke City on Saturday afternoon.
The 31-year-old, with his side trailing in injury time, finally beat Charlton’s record of 249 club goals with a sensational free-kick into the top corner.
Rooney’s strike also ensured that Man United, following 94 minutes of pure frustration in front of goal, preserved their unbeaten run and momentum going forward in the Premier League.
And Mourinho, speaking after the game, was quick to heap praise on the Englishman.
“We should speak about Wayne’s record for 24 hours then finish and let him be a normal guy,” he said.
“[He is] obviously a legend but it’s now in his pocket and we should let him be a normal player and score goals.
“Before him the record belonged to a legend of English football. Now Wayne becomes a legend of Manchester United.
“The record is the record. It is the record of the biggest club in England and one of the biggest in the world.”
Most United fans will agree that Rooney, for all his talent and past heroics, can no longer feature on a regular basis at the highest level.
His aptitude for exercising a constant impact going forward has rapidly faded in recent years and has, in turn, been replaced with a different type of threat – a capacity to produce one moment of utter brilliance to change the complexion of a game: his run into the heart of Crystal Palace’s back four at Wembley in May serves as a perfect example; as does his run and assist for Marcus Rashford‘s goal against Hull City back in August; and his injury time free-kick serves as the latest of these sporadic but ultimately crucial contributions.