Wayne Rooney has been taunted as the best player in England since bursting on the scene as a teenage striker for Everton in the early 2000s before he joined Manchester United in 2004.
His march to glory since then hasn’t been void of highs and lows, with his highest individual point coming in 2004-2005 when he was named the FIFPro World Young Player of the Year at the age of 18.
He has gone on to be named England’s best player in 2008 and 2009, PFA player of the year 2009/10 and so on and so forth.
His most disappointing lows have been easy to figure as they come more often than highs; Rooney has never been Manchester United’s best player at a particular point in any season.
When he was signed, he was still young but with a lot of potential, but there was another goal machine in Ruud Van Nistelrooy, who outshone him season after season.
When the Dutchman left for Madrid, Rooney reigned supreme for a brief spell, but another young magician from Sporting Lisbon was starting to catch the eye at Old Trafford.
Cristiano Ronaldo, with all his initial naivety as a player, showed that he had the potential to be molded into a superstar football- and he didn’t disappoint.
Ronaldo outshone Rooney season after season until he was bought by Real Madrid in 2009 for a world record 80 million Pounds. When he left for Madrid, Rooney was by default supposed to fill the void left, but the size proved too big for his feet.
That year Rooney tried his best, he took United to the Champions League final and was the second top scorer in the premier league after Didier Drogba with 26 goals- his second highest for United in one season.
He again performed well last season, scoring 27 goals but being beaten to the golden ball by Van Persie who scored 30 for Arsenal. After that, Rooney became almost a shadow of himself.
Now Van Persie is taking all the headlines, not Rooney; history depicts that the “why” question is answered only in statistics.
Rooney has simply failed to live up to the large billing on his head and that is why every worthy United player has had a better say on the club’s performance than him.
Someone suggested that Sir Alex Ferguson is disappointed because he has failed to turn Rooney into a phenomenon striker in the mould of Messi and Ronaldo and thus, might be looking elsewhere for talent to replace him.
Borussia Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski is prolific and can play well with Shinji Kagawa. If bought, Lewandowski can be a worthy replacement for Rooney. Another, the speed merchant, Gareth Bale could become a gem for United.
Rooney loves United and United loves Rooney, but this love is no longer as productive as it should be- and it would be a great time for Ferguson to make one of those tough but strategic decisions to cash him in at the end of the season while his price is still high.
With the likes of Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck looking hungrier with every passing day, I would rather Fergie resigns to losing the one name that has been sang for almost a decade now, than lose young talent like Hernandez or fail to lure quality players like Lewadowski.
Being the third highest-paid footballer in the world after Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, with an annual income of £18 million including sponsorship deals, makes Rooney look as though he isn’t worth the money or the hype.
He is no where compared with those two in terms of importance to club, yet he earns as much, while he has failed to become the talisman that all the Red Devil fans hoped him to be.
More than ever, it now looks like ripe for United and Rooney to divorce.
@RushAfrican on Twitter