Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand believes that Wayne Rooney could leave Old Trafford over the summer after finally becoming the club’s all-time top-goalscorer.
Rooney, after months of prattle, finally secured his status as Man United’s all-time top-goalscorer with a sweetly taken injury time free-kick against Stoke City last weekend.
The 31-year-old, speaking after the 1-1 draw with Mark Hughes’ side, noted that claiming the title was a real honour.
And Ferdinand believes that, following such a historic milestone, Rooney could now look elsewhere as he enters the latter stages of his career.
“I think it’s been a big burden on his shoulders – everything he’s done over the last few months has been about this record and that would have been pressure in itself,” he said.
“That’s gone now, the shackles are off and I think he’s earned the right to make a decision at the end of the season.
“He could go onto pastures new and see a new battle somewhere else or if the club really want him to stay and they see him playing a part in the future, he has that decision to make.
“I think it’s only fair that he can go where he wants now. Both Manchester United and Wayne Rooney have been great for each other and at the next crossroads I think any decision that’s made will be respected.”
Nobody would blame Rooney for wanting to move on during the summer. He has, after all, spent the last 14 years playing at the highest level, making no less than 42 appearances every season since the age of 16, always in the spotlight, alongside coming under the national magnifying glass at six different major international tournaments. During that time he has burdened the hopes and dreams of United and England fans across the globe, establishing himself as all-time top-goalscorer for club and country in the process.
Rooney has nothing left to prove in England, and with Mourinho quietly edging the Englishman out of the starting XI, he may feel as if a fresh challenge – perhaps abroad – would be the right way to round off a historical career.