• The Coronation of Wazza

    Caution: The following discussion is wrought for football (soccer?) fans, especially those in favor of a club by the name Manchester United. Viewer discretion recommended.

    A long ball was launched up to Rooney and he took it down with a great touch, turned, and with the Arsenal defense backing off, hit an unbeatable curling shot into the top corner to send Goodison wild. Everton had won, Arsenal’s unbeaten run was over, and Rooney had arrived. Always searching for the sound bite, commentator Clive Tyldesley exclaimed “Remember the name: Wayne Rooney!That was October2002 – he was only 16 then.

    Wayne Rooney signed for the Reds two seasons later after a staggering £27m transfer. In September 2004, he scored a hat trick on his United debut. He was only 18 then. Since then, he has scored some truly memorable goals for united including the scorcher volley against Newcastle, the chip against Portsmouth, the late, late winner against Milan. Besides, he has gone through three injuries, numerous red cards, an infamous spat with a Portuguese ‘winker’, a couple of bar brawls, a Street Striker reality show... and even marriage. He is still only 23.

    In his five-year tenure with United thus far, he has turned from a gifted teenager to the

    backbone of Manchester United. Starting out as a pure forward, he has played, for the greater cause of the Team, on either flank, sometimes even pushed back to the center of midfield. Its commonplace to see Rooney charging up the field, putting his body on the line on an all-or-nothing tackle that isn’t even his job. He has been at Right Back to save the day when Rafael has been daydreaming, or at Left Back when Evra’s ventured too far forward. Although goal scoring is his primary forte, it is by no means his only contribution to the team. Statistics might show that he’s only but scored 20 odd goals each season – but which other forward in world football today charges back, marks, tackles, delivers diagonal crosses, engineers finely threaded through balls, takes corners, and occasionally hits screamers from outside the box?

    The only reason why Rooney hasn’t come into contention as the world’s finest is – because of his modesty and absolute unflagging commitment to United. In the words of CR9, “Rooney will die for United.” Unlike Ronaldo, you do not see Rooney claiming that he is the best in the world, or that the team depends on him. Has football turned into yet another glamour industry – that we can’t see the doers from the posers? It is time the world revives its notion of football – the beautiful game and rises above the Divers and the Winkers.

    It is true that all these five years, Rooney has played second fiddle to Van Nistelrooy and then Cristiano Roanldo – but that’s about to change. The Record Breaking

    transfer of Roanldo to Madrid has pointed out a simple fact – Rooney has come of age – he is now entrusted with the responsibility of spearheading the United attack; we do not need any flamboyant show-offs at Old Trafford anymore. Much as the papers make about Ronaldo’s £80m acquisition, about the (apparent) Glory of signing “world-class” talents (read showmanship), the sale of Ronaldo and Tevez implies, although subtly, the coronation of a new authority, a new torchbearer at Old Trafford – King Rooney.
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