A player is allowed to be unhappy, or ask to leave a club, or disagree with Alex Ferguson. But it’s impossible to let out a negative work about the retiring manager these days, which is helping him exert his small revenge against a player he felt betrayed him more than once over the last few years, forgetting everything he has done for Manchester United over the last few years.
There is a positive side to Rooney being ignored in the whole championship celebration. It does show that at United, the current one, there is no such thing as a player being above the club. It might come to on-pitch importance, like it was for Robin van Persie this season, Rooney in previous years or Cristiano Ronaldo during 2008 and 2009, but the clubs moved and moves on, even when its biggest stars don’t remain there forever.
But Alex Ferguson has been waiting to get his revenge on Wayne Rooney ever since the first falling out between the two, when it looked imminent that Rooney will leave the team to Chelsea, Manchester City or Real Madrid in the 2010-2011 season, only to be convinced to remain at the club, winning two more league titles and reaching another Champions League final.
It’s not David Moyes’ fight, not alone. Ferguson is at the club, and he’ll be pulling plenty of strings, including keeping Rooney at a certain level of discontent. It has been an on and off story between the two this season, which sums down to this – when Ferguson needed Rooney, he used him without hesitation. As a forward, as a midfielder, as a winger, whatever was necessary.
But Rooney wasn’t in the best of physical shape to kick off the season, and Ferguson wasn’t happy. Rooney missed penalty kicks until Robin van Persie took over that duty, and Ferguson wasn’t happy. Rooney finished the season with 12 goals and 10 assists; not bad for a player who hasn’t been playing at the most attacking of positions, like he has in the past at least, and has gotten benched more than once, including against Real Madrid, which seemed to be Ferguson’s final act of removal of Rooney from a certain pedestal. It backfired on the Scot, but it’s always someone else at fault, not him.
Maybe Rooney will get his demand answered eventually. You can’t hold on to a player by force forever, even if by force means paying him over £200,000 a week. No one is forcing Manchester United to keep him, and no one forced him to give him that contract. Turning spins on Rooney, who might not be the nicest of players in the Premier League, is simply taking and making the most of the momentum brewing against the player among fans, the media and within the club.
It’s hard to feel sorry for a person who has earned so much money over the years for doing what most people around the world can only dream of; and yet, Rooney has been turned into an unnecessary villain in Ferguson’s final conquest and proof that no one is bigger than the club, and especially not bigger than him.