Wayne Rooney may have played his last Champions League game for Manchester United.
United were beaten by Madrid after Los Blancos managed to come back from behind. Rooney was eventually introduced with the game all but over.
In years gone by, Wayne Rooney was the fulcrum upon which Sir Alex Ferguson's team turned—even when Cristiano Ronaldo was at United.
This season that has changed due to a number of contributing factors like injuries and indifferent form.
However, the most important factor of all has been the arrival of Robin van Persie from Arsenal.
The absence of Rooney between Aug. 25 and Sept. 29 gave the Dutchman time to settle, but it also removed pressure and doubt over his selection.
From there, a foundation for a successful season was set in stone.
There can be little doubt now that van Persie is one of the first names on Sir Alex Ferguson's team sheet and that he is more than comfortable in any of Ferguson's tactical selections.
Van Persie has joined the Red Devils at a time when he is rightly compared to the likes of Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in terms of his overall play and goal-scoring ability. In the last three season's he has waded in with an incredible 82 goals from 114 matches—including 23 in 33 games for United.
During this purple patch from van Persie, which began when Wayne Rooney forced Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson to renegotiate his contract, Rooney has scored only 63 goals from 110 matches.
For Rooney, that month spent on the sidelines gave his teammates the time to settle with a new striker at the helm. As a result, small intricacies on the pitch have developed between van Persie and his fellow players so they can now survive without Rooney.
That has never been the case since Rooney joined the club in 2004.
Having lost the penalty-taking duties earlier this season, it is now clear that Wayne Rooney is dropping down the pecking order in terms of importance at United.
Sir Alex Ferguson has always had a harsh and shortsighted management style that has reaped huge benefits for the club. However, it has also meant that players are often sacrificed for his philosophies even if they are still of a world-class level.
Jaap Stam, Roy Keane and Paul McGrath are just three of the important players who have been cast aside by Ferguson over the years.
Now it now seems that Wayne Rooney will soon join them.
The decision to leave the best and most consistent player in the Premier League over the last 10 years out of the Real Madrid match beggars belief.
Rooney, the most creative and hard-working force in the Premier League, was sacrificed by Ferguson for Danny Welbeck and Luis Nani. Neither player is capable of reaching the levels of Rooney in any way, shape or form.
Welbeck, while he worked hard, is incapable of breaking down a team of Madrid's calibre and Nani was little more than a work-horse out on the left.
Ferguson would have been better off with Rooney through the middle and Welbeck out on the left. This would have given the team a far better balance both offensively and defensively.
Not being picked is bad enough but when Nani was sensationally sent off in the 56th minute, Sir Alex Ferguson chose to snub Rooney once again by leaving the team as it was.
Twenty minutes later Madrid had come back from a losing position to lead 2-1. When the game was all but over for United, as their 10 men needed to score twice to progress, Wayne Rooney was finally introduced.
With Rooney's contract set to run out in 2015, it would appear that Manchester United are getting their blows in first this time. In 2010, Rooney caught the club unawares with his declaration to leave the club.
The club moved heaven and earth to get him to stay; however, if that situation were to arise tomorrow it is highly debatable whether Ferguson and the club would move as far as they did at the time.
If they do not move now to sell the player his value will radically reduce, and he will be able to negotiate a free transfer away from the club in 21 months.
Last year according to Spanish newspaper Sport, PSG set their sights on landing Rooney as they attempt to win the title next season and compete in the Champions League.
Recent transfer speculation from The Times also link Carlo Ancelotti's team with a big-money move for the star this summer.
After the way Ferguson treated him in 2010, and the way he was dropped in the clubs most important game this season, Wayne Rooney should leave.
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