After much speculation about Manchester United superstar Wayne Rooney's future, shocked manager Sir Alex Ferguson (pictured) spoke out to confirm that the club's most important player wanted to leave the club.
AFP - Manchester United superstar Wayne Rooney sent shockwaves rippling across English football on Tuesday after manager Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed the striker wanted to leave the club.
After days of raging speculation about the 24-year-old's future, a clearly stunned Ferguson broke his silence on the saga by announcing that the club's most important player wanted out of Old Trafford.
"I had a meeting with him. He intimated to me in his own way that he wanted to leave," Ferguson said at an extraordinary press conference ahead of United's Champions League match with Turkish side Bursaspor on Wednesday.
Ferguson, describing himself as "shocked and disappointed" by Rooney's position, said he was unable to provide an explanation for the player's desire to move after six successful years at the club.
"We're as bemused as anyone can be because we can't quite understand why he'd want to leave a club that no-one can deny is the most successful in British football," Ferguson said.
"We've won 40 major trophies, countless cup finals, have a fantastic history, a great stadium, great training arrangements -- a platform for anyone to take up the challenges here. We don't understand it.
"I can't answer your questions about why is he doing it. You can speculate, you can have opinions, it won't matter a dickie bird. Simply because the player says he is adamant. He wants to leave."
Speculation of a breakdown in Ferguson and Rooney's previously close relationship had reached a crescendo after the player was left on the substitutes bench for Saturday's 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion.
That snub came after Rooney publicly contradicted Ferguson's assertion that he was suffering from an ankle injury, telling reporters after England's match with Montenegro last week that he was fully fit.
Reports had claimed Rooney and Ferguson's relationship had ruptured in the wake of lurid tabloid revelations in September alleging the player had cheated on his pregnant wife with two prostitutes.
Rooney was reported to be unhappy with Ferguson's decision to leave him out of the match against Everton immediately following the scandal while Ferguson was said to have accused the player of tarnishing the club's reputation.
However Ferguson revealed on Tuesday that Rooney had broken off contract talks in mid-August -- suggesting that the player had decided to leave well before the reports over his private life emerged.
In an interview with Manchester United's official television channel MUTV, Ferguson recalled the moment when club chief executive David Gill broke the news that Rooney had requested to quit.
"I was in the office on 14 August when David told me he'd had a call from his agent saying that Wayne wasn't going to sign his contract," Ferguson said.
"So then David came across to see me. He said he couldn't believe it and neither could I. I was dumbfounded.
"I couldn't understand it at all because only months before he'd said he was at the biggest club in the world and he wanted to stay for life. We just don't know what's changed the boy's mind. David was shocked, I was shocked."
In another twist, Ferguson revealed that Rooney had been injured in training on Tuesday and would not be in the squad for Wednesday's game with Bursaspor.
Ferguson also expressed disappointment that Rooney had contradicted his comments about being injured, insisting he had been nursing an ankle knock.
"Why he came out and said that you can only guess yourself. It was disappointing he said that," Ferguson said.
"He got an ankle injury in the Rangers game. He was seen clearly hobbling at half-time. He confirmed it himself in an interview with Sky."
Rooney's likely departure represents a devastating bodyblow for United as they attempt to maintain their status as one of the world's truly elite clubs, having already lost Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid in 2009.
With Rooney having only 18 months left on his existing contract, United will now likely be forced to sell their prized asset -- worth around 50 million pounds (57 million euros) -- as quickly as possible before his value depreciates.
If Rooney is not sold in the January transfer window, he could, under FIFA regulations, technically buy out the remaining year of his contract next summer for around five million pounds, leaving United with nothing.
Worse still for Manchester United's fans to contemplate is the fact that cross-town rivals Manchester City have rapidly emerged as the favourite to land Rooney, with Real Madrid, Chelsea and Barcelona also linked to the player.
The Guardian newspaper said on Tuesday that any move by Rooney to City would represent the "most rancorous and staggering transfer of modern times".
Date created : 2010-10-19