By Mustapha Hodi Adamu
While players in the world celebrate golden boot award for becoming the highest goal scorers in a league or tournament, Wayne Mark Rooney will boast as the all time goal scorer for his country, England and club side, Manchester United.
Rooney has on Saturday, January 21 broke the goal-scoring record set by the England and United’s legend, Sir Bobby Charlton with a stunning equaliser against Stoke City in their Premier League encounter. The goal was Rooney’s 250th for the Red Devils — one ahead of Charlton’s 249. This came less than a year when the same Rooney broke the 49 goals record set by Charlton and added 4 goals to go home with 53 as the England’s all time top scorer.
Living amidst fans of different European elite clubs in Late Audu Faringida Avenue, Fagge, Rooney has constantly been criticized for not being able to finish Premier League season as the highest goal scorer. “Rooney bai taba zama highest goal scorer ba”, meaning, Rooney has never been a highest goal scorer. This is their constant criticism against the United’s legend. Now the striker has challenged them for setting an unprecedented record as the only attacker with the all time goal-scoring record that has never become a highest goal scorer in a league or tournament.
Indeed every player would love to become the all-time goal scorer for his club or country, rather than setting a seasonal records that could be quickly forgotten. But Roon has already achieved that.
Although best players like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have both become highest goal scorers in their respective leagues and other tournaments, they have also already set the record of being the highest goal scorers in their respective clubs sides and countries. This will not form any basis for underestimating Rooney’s record.
I often become a subject of mockery when I say Rooney is at the same level with Messi and Ronaldo. The fact that the duo have surpassed him, is only on Balon d O’r, which the United’s captain is lacking. They both won Champions League, he too has the medal. They won Toyota car at the world club cup, Rooney won his own when they played at the United’s attack with Ronaldo.
Meanwhile, it was the record that took the legendary Charlton 17 years to set and 44 years later, it took the legendary Rooney 14 years to break. Whether my friends at Faringida Avenue like it or not, this is one of the most cherished and respected records in the world of football. Even Sir Charlton has happily and graciously conceded to Rooney as the United’s all-time top scorer as shown in the picture below.
Ironically, having received an avalanche of tributes from football legends, including the likes of the sport’s greatest personality, Edison Arantes, popularly known as Pele, Sir Alex Ferguson, Diego Maradona, Ronaldo Nezario Delima, Francisco Totti etc, ‘Yan layin Faringida have never heaped praises on him. Well, this is laughable since he received the praise from the people that made the game.
Let them know that Rooney is a world-class footballer contrary to their view, as they always say “Rooney ajawo ne”, meaning Rooney is a dull player. Having made a £25 million move from his boyhood club Everton in 2004, the forward, who was only 18 at the time, made a fairytale start to his United career by striking a hat trick in a 6-2 Champions League victory against a Turkish club, Fenerbache. This reminds me of a young United’s fan who rose a placard with inscription that reads ” Over the Moon, we have got the Roon.”
Since then Rooney has been a consistent goal scorer, even when pulled into midfield, and his best seasons were 2009-10 and 2011-12 when he hit 34 goals. His acrobatic winner against rival Man City, which handed United its 2011 PL title has been awarded the best goal ever in the history of English football.
Let the ‘yan layin Faringida know that for every individual accolades, it is only a Balon D’or award that Rooney has never won. But he came 5th in the award in 2011. This is not a shame as better players than him like Alexander Delpiero, Ryan Giggs, Erick Cantona, among others were not fortunate to scoop the award.
But Rooney will be proud as the first youngest player to have won the PFA, Professional Footballers’ Award (young) two times in 2004 and 2005 and the PFA.
With these bunch of accolades, and still on his way for more, Ya’n layin Audu Faringida are certainly wasting their energy in criticising the legendary Rooney.