EPL

Rooney praises Man Utd's Ronaldo reaction, backs Rashford to break Red Devils record

By Sports Desk March 30, 2023

Wayne Rooney has praised Manchester United for moving on from Cristiano Ronaldo's exit, while backing their new talisman Marcus Rashford to beat his own Red Devils goals record.

Ronaldo left United for the second time in acrimonious circumstances in November, having declared he did not respect manager Erik ten Hag during an incendiary interview with British broadcaster Piers Morgan.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner then joined Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr, while United have enjoyed a successful spell, winning the EFL Cup and strengthening their grip on a top-four spot in the Premier League.

Asked about Ronaldo's controversial departure during an interview with CNN, United's all-time leading scorer Rooney said: "I suppose he got what he wanted.

"For Manchester United, it was important to move on as quick as possible from that and really refocus on the group of players who were there and wanted to be there. 

"I think that's where Ten Hag has done a really good job in refocusing the players and getting them in a position where they are, obviously comfortably in the top four, and also winning the [EFL] Cup."

Asked whether Ronaldo's turbulent second stint at Old Trafford harmed his standing with the club's supporters, Rooney added: "No, I think what he's done for Manchester United is great. 

"He's won Premier League titles, won the Champions League, scored many goals. I think certainly for the fans and his former team-mates, we'll never forget what he did for Manchester United. 

"In my eyes, he'll always be a club legend and it's a shame the way it ended, of course, this time round. But I don't think that takes anything away from his legacy at the club."

 

Rashford has stepped up since Ronaldo left United, scoring 19 times in 25 appearances after returning from the World Cup.

Rooney saw his record total of 53 England goals surpassed by Harry Kane last week, and he hopes his tally of 253 goals in a United shirt will one day be within Rashford's reach. 

"We've all known about Marcus, even before he was in the first team, coming through the academy," Rooney said.

"He's a top player and he fell off a little bit over the last 18 months especially. And again, I think Ten Hag has come in and really simplified it for him.

"I'm not a player who sits on records and hopes no one breaks them. I hope he does it. I think it's a great story and it means he's been very successful with the club and been there a long time and scored a lot of goals if he does do it. So I hope he does. 

"I think he certainly has the ability and the capabilities to be able to do it. I'm sure, or I hope, sometime in the next few years I'll be able to pass that mantle onto him."

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