February 21, 2014
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Much like three years ago, it was believed Rooney, 28, would be leaving Old Trafford over the summer, looking to push his way out of the club. And just like three years ago, he has not only remained at the club but has thrived, all leading to him signing a contract extension with the Red Devils.
Manchester United announced the deal:
Wayne Rooney has committed his future to Manchester United by signing a four-year contract extension, keeping him at the club until June 2019. Wayne will also become a club ambassador when he retires from the game.
Rooney tweeted a photo of himself signing the contract:
What can you say? The man knows how to negotiate.
Rooney wasn't as effective as years past in 2012-13, missing some time due to injury but also falling a bit out of form trying to adjust to a deeper-lying role as new striker Robin van Persie became the focal point of Manchester United's attack.
The low point of the season came in the Champions League Round of 16. Rooney started the game on the bench in the return leg, which Real Madrid won, 2-1, eliminating the Red Devils from the tournament.
Still, Rooney had a solid season, if below his normal standards. He scored 16 goals and added 13 assists in all competitions for the Red Devils, marks that most players would be quite pleased with. But for a player who scored 35 total goals in the 2011-12 season and 34 in 2009-10, it was less than expected.
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It was clear he was feuding with Sir Alex Ferguson, and that conflict was affecting his play on the pitch. And it was unclear if that would improve with Moyes appointed manager after Ferguson retired. In fact, the two have quite a history, including Moyes suing Rooney for libelous comments in Rooney's autobiography (they settled out of court).
Over the summer, it appeared that Rooney was angling to join Chelsea, a move that Moyes wouldn't allow.
It was probably the best decision of Moyes' short career at United.
Rooney has been one of the lone bright spots for Manchester United this season, with nine goals and nine assists in league play. He scored his 150th goal of his Manchester United career on Boxing Day against Hull City, becoming just the second player alongside Thierry Henry to score 150 goals or more with one club in the Premier League era.
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According to WhoScored, he's been United's top player this season, with an average match rating of 7.57.
It's become clear that he and David Moyes have developed a solid working relationship, or at least one stronger than he and Ferguson had just before the latter retired. Now, alongside players like van Persie and Juan Mata, who was added in January, Rooney will be expected to not only get the Red Devils back into a top-four spot, but to also make a run in the Champions League.
United are shockingly 11 points behind Liverpool for fourth place, so the former goal may be out of reach.
But Rooney should have a renewed passion to close the gap. His performance in 2013-14 was enough to convince the club to keep him at United for the foreseeable future. And Rooney has obviously enjoyed his football with Moyes enough to dedicate his future to the Red Devils as well.
Now, the man who tried to force his way out of the club twice has to prove he's earned the big paycheck United has sent his way again.
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