Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that England striker Wayne Rooney wants to leave Manchester United.
Ferguson was speaking to journalists at the pre-match press conference for United's Champions League tie with Turkish side Bursaspor.
Revelations in all the major dailies suggested last morning that Rooney had decided not to renew his contract, which runs out in July 2012.
The exact cause of Rooney's refusal was not apparent to his manager as well, who claimed he was "shocked" and "disappointed" at the striker's decision to move from the club. "We are as bemused as anyone can be. We can't quite understand why he would want to leave," said Ferguson of Rooney's choice.
However, contrary to initial reports that there had been bad blood between the manager and the player in wake of scandals surrounding Rooney's private life, the Scotsman claimed "the door was still open" for Rooney to rejoin the frame.
In an interview with MUTV, Ferguson stated that the ex-Everton man had made up his mind in the summer about moving out of United: "I was in office on 14 August and David Gill (Man Utd chief executive) phoned me and said he (Rooney) wasn't signing a contract."
In a subsequent meeting with Rooney, Ferguson says the player reiterated his desire to move away from the club, leaving him "dumbfounded": "I asked him 'to respect the club.' I don't know if he has done that."
SAF was also adamant that the club had done all it could to keep the striker happy: "We have always been here as a harbour for him any time he has been in trouble.... We've done nothing but help him since he has been at this club."
Rooney's future will now be under much speculation, and reports have linked him with a move away from the club as early as the January transfer window.