Manchester United: Wayne Rooney's 5 Greatest Moments as a Red Devil

Joseph DempseyCorrespondentJuly 5, 2013

Manchester United: Wayne Rooney's 5 Greatest Moments as a Red Devil

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    New Manchester United manager David Moyes will hold his first official press conference later today, as he prepares to step into one of the biggest pairs of shoes in football following the retirement of the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson.

    A number of issues are expected to be raised, such as the status regarding the club's interest in Barcelona's Thiago Alcantara, the appointment of Ryan Giggs as player/coach and whether Wayne Rooney will remain at the club.

    The ex-Everton man is expected to reveal whether the 27-year-old has a long-term future at Old Trafford, with strong interest from Arsenal and Barcelona mounting, according to The Sun.

    Speculation has been rife this summer that the England international could be sold after the star was left out of the club's final two league games of last season and was also jeered by supporters.

    Clearly, the Rooney issue will be top of the agenda this afternoon. Here, Bleacher Report looks back on the striker's five best moments as a Red Devil. 

Scoring a Hat-Trick on His Debut

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    Many an eyebrow was raised when, in 2004, Manchester United spent £25 million on an 18-year-old.

    Wayne Rooney had already shown signs of promise during his brief spell with Everton, where he had scored 17 goals in 77 appearances. However, the size of the fee United were prepared to part with for the youngster was questionable.

    The starlet answered his critics in resounding fashion by sensationally netting a hat-trick in his debut against Fenerbahce in the Champions League group stages, as United prevailed 6-2 winners.

    If his barnstorming goal against Arsenal in October 2002 hadn't put the star on the map, this clinical performance against the Turkish outfit surely did as he kick-started his United career in the best possible way.

    The world of football, at that point, knew Sir Alex Ferguson had signed someone very special indeed. 

First Premier League Win

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    Wayne Rooney had to wait two full seasons before finally tasting Premier League glory with Manchester United following his switch from Everton in 2004.

    The Red Devils finished third and then second in the following two league campaigns before winning the title in 2007, beating Chelsea into second place.

    Rooney had already won the league cup with the club in 2006—the first major piece of silverware in his career—and greater things were yet to come.

    The 27-year-old has since won five Premier League titles, two league cups, three Community Shields and the Champions League.

    More on that later.

    Rooney's nine seasons at Old Trafford have been trophy-laden, and the England international is one of the Premier League's more decorated players. 

Winning the Champions League

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    In 2008, Manchester United won the third Champions League in their illustrious history after defeating Chelsea in a rain-sodden, tension-filled encounter in Moscow.

    The game had finished 1-1 after regulation following goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Frank Lampard, and when 30 more minutes of extra time couldn't separate these two heavyweights, the tie went to penalties.

    Rooney, in fact, had no bearing on proceedings. In fact, the hero of the hour was goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, who kept out Nicolas Anelka's spot-kick following that infamous slip by John Terry.

    Nevertheless, the England striker did lift the giant trophy with the "big ears."

    Neither United nor Rooney have lifted it since.

Hat-Trick Against Arsenal

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    In August 2011, Manchester United inflicted total humiliation on Arsenal, as Sir Alex Ferguson's side ruthlessly dismantled Arsene Wenger's beleaguered Gunners at Old Trafford in a resounding 8-2 demolition.

    Back then, Robin van Persie was plying his trade at the Emirates, while Rooney was the Red Devils' talisman. The England international was the chief architect in this thumping win.

    The ex-Everton man bagged the sixth hat-trick of his United career here, as Arsenal crashed to their heaviest defeat since 1896. 

    Danny Welbeck put the hosts up 1-0 before Ashley Young made it two. Rooney added a third before Theo Walcott reduced the deficit before half-time. Arsenal's suffering wouldn't end there, and Rooney again found himself on the scoresheet to make it 4-1.

    Luis Nani, Ji-Sung Park and another Rooney strike in between Van Persie's consolation goal for the Gunners made it 7-2, and Young bagged his second of the afternoon to round off the spanking.

    A memorable afternoon for Rooney and company. One to forget for Wenger's men.

Bicycle Kick vs. Manchester City

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    When you think to yourself, "greatest goal in the Premier League era," perhaps your mind conjures up David Beckham's strike from the half-way line against Wimbledon in 2000. Perhaps you think of Paolo di Canio's scissor kick against the same side later that year. Dennis Bergkamp's clever effort against Newcastle United in 2002, when he flicked the ball over the head of the defender before notching it past the lunging goalkeeper, is another candidate.

    Everyone has their own opinion when it comes to this subject, but for us, the matter is in no doubt.

    Wayne Rooney's phenomenal bicycle kick against Manchester City in February 2011 is peerless.

    After Luis Nani crossed the ball into the City penalty area in the 77th minute of a typically pulsating Manchester derby, the 27-year-old—with his back to Joe Hart's goal—leaped into the air and extended his right leg before blasting the ball into the upper right-hand corner of the net, leaving Hart motionless.

    It was the winning goal of a tight affair, as the Red Devils prevailed 2-1, and Rooney etched his name into a little bit of Premier League history.