Speaking ahead of his 100th cap for England, Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney revisited his sending off in the 2006 World Cup, suggesting that he held no grudges with Ronaldo and that he blamed himself for England’s failure.
Wayne Rooney was sent off for allegedly stamping Ricardo Carvalho with Cristiano Ronaldo playing an important role in the dismissal. The Real Madrid superstar rushed to the referee asking for a card against Rooney and then went on to wink at the bench as his United team-mate trudged along to the dressing room. Rooney believes that the 2006 World Cup was an extremely difficult time for him as he blamed himself for England getting knocked out of the tournament. According to Paul Scholes, United skipper could end his career in regret if he does not win a trophy with England.
“It was so difficult to watch knowing no matter what happened my tournament was over. That was a really tough moment and unfortunately we didn’t go through and it made it worse for me.”
‘You start thinking: ‘Is it my fault that we didn’t go through?”
“Euro 2004 and the World Cup in 2006, they were great opportunities for us. You never know what is going to happen if you do get into the semi-finals and I felt we were the better team even with 10 men.”
However Wayne Rooney claims that he held no grudges with Ronaldo and was trying to do the same thing as his Portuguese counter-part during the game.
“I understood why he did it. He was trying to win for Portugal. And to be honest I would probably do the same if it was the other way round. I would want to win for England.”
“I would have probably (tried to get him sent off), yes. In the first half I was saying to the referee that he was diving, trying to get him a yellow card.”
Rooney admitted that speaking to referees is a part and parcel of the game and footballers have to accept the fact.
“That happens in football. Players speak to the referees which isn’t always highlighted. But that does happen.”
The United captain reveals that he patched things up with Ronaldo immediately keeping their partnership at Old Trafford in mind.
“I spoke to him straight after the game. I knew what the media would say – the two of us had fallen out.”
“To be honest, we had to make sure that didn’t happen for Manchester United’s sake because the tournament for me and England was over. There was never an issue.”
Meanwhile the United and England skipper revealed that he is handling the pressure of leading both his club and country well. He also went on to add that he has complete faith in Van Gaal and believes that United is heading in the right direction under the Dutch maestro.
“There’s pressure just from playing for Manchester United and England. But I feel that over the years I’ve matured as a person and as a footballer and I’m ready for that pressure, ready to deal with it.”
“I feel I’m more than capable of dealing with it. We’ve had a tough start at United, but I feel we’re getting better and moving in the right direction under Louis van Gaal.”
At the age of 29, Rooney dismissed suggestions that his best is past him and believes that he is raring to achieve more in his professional career.
“I think I can achieve plenty more. I think I have many years ahead of me and if selected I will always join up with the squad and be available to play. I love doing it.”
And what happens when he finally retires?
“I would love to go into management. It would be a big call, at this age, to say I wanted to be England manager one day.”
“I would just want to get a job somewhere when I finish playing, hopefully, and see how it progresses from there.”