Wayne Rooney’s goal during last night’s 4-0 victory over Feyenoord last night made him United’s all-time leading goalscorer in European competitions.

 

Rooney famously opened his account in Europe on his debut for Manchester United in the most resounding way possible: bagging a hat-trick and an assist against Fenerbahce in the 2004-05 season having joined in the summer for £25.6 million from Everton.

Rooney’s goal last night was a momentous occasion in the Englishman’s career as it took him to 39 goals in Europe. In the process, the striker broke Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record for goals in European competitions. He is also now just one goal behind United’s all-time leading goalscorer Bobby Charlton, whose record stands at 249 goals in all competitions.

The Manchester United captain’s goal was reminiscent of his performances in days gone by. The 31-year-old initiated the move by breaking down the left flank and playing it into Zlatan Ibrahimovic in a three-vs-four counter attack, which evened up when Rooney’s marker Jens Toornstra lost his footing. This allowed United’s captain to collect a return pass from the Swede and calmly lift the ball over the onrushing Brad Jones.

Manchester United's Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic (R) celebrates scoring his team's first goal with Manchester United's English striker Wayne Rooney (L) during the UEFA Europa League group A football match between Manchester United and Zorya Luhansk at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, north-west England on September 29, 2016. / AFP / PAUL ELLIS (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Manchester United’s Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic (R) celebrates scoring his team’s first goal with Manchester United’s English striker Wayne Rooney (L) during the UEFA Europa League group A football match between Manchester United and Zorya Luhansk at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, north-west England on September 29, 2016. (Photo courtesy – PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

After the match, United star Zlatan Ibrahimovic opined that Rooney deserves a lot more respect than he receives.

Rooney is clearly no longer the player he once was, with his explosiveness and energetic performances obviously winding down as a result of his age. However, Ibrahimovic still feels he has a lot to offer, and has vowed to help him break Bobby Charlton’s record.

According to Sky Sports, Zlatan said: “I think we should appreciate him for the player he is, what he did. I don’t see many players from England who have had the same career as him. I feel a little bit sorry of the situation because we should show more respect for him.

“Everybody wants to make a little thing a big thing. I’m used to it from Sweden, I don’t mind it. As a person he’s fantastic, I have the luck to get to know the person.

“As a player, there are no words to not say about him – he’s the perfect player. Everybody knows what he can do, what he did, what he has done. I’m happy for him to break the record and I will help him to go one more – then I see it as the real record.”

Although Rooney and Zlatan have not featured together too much this season, there is evidently a huge amount of respect between the two. And if last night’s goal is anything to go by, Rooney isn’t done just yet.

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