Alex Livesey/Getty Images
If Wayne Rooney's first goal announced him on the scene in suitably emphatic fashion, then this is perhaps the one that will be given prime position in the compilations of his greatest-ever goals whenever he retires.
It's easy to forget that, at the time, Rooney's status with the Manchester United fans was slightly unstable—the forward having only recently publicly questioned the club's ambition, asking to leave amid reported interest from City.
He eventually changed his mind about the departure, but this goal did more to convince the fans than any words to the media ever could. Reacting instinctively to a deflected cross, Rooney launched into an overhead kick that sent the ball beyond Joe Hart—clinching a derby victory over the club's arch-rivals.
His celebration—arms aloft, back to the away fans—confirmed the moment's iconic status.
As Rooney described the aftermath in his autobiography, My Decade in the Premier League:
Who I am and what I’ve done comes back to me in a rush, a hit, like a boxer coming round after a sniff of smelling salts.
I’m Wayne Rooney. I’ve played Premier League football since 2002 and I’ve just scored the winning goal in a Manchester derby—probably the most important game of the season to fans from the red half of town.
A goal that puts our noisy neighbours—the other lot—in their place. A goal that reminds them United have more history and more success than they do right now. A goal that warns the rest of the country we’re on our way to winning another Premier League title.
As I stand with my arms spread wide, head back, I can feel the hate coming from the City fans behind me, it’s like static electricity. The abuse, the screaming and swearing, is bouncing off me. I don’t give a toss.