With his second goal against Bayer Leverkusen last night, Wayne Rooney joined an exclusive club of Manchester United players to have reached the double century mark – 200 career goals for the Red Devils.
The 4-2 victory settled nerves at Old Trafford after Leverkusen had equalised at one-goal-apiece early in the second half. But further strikes from Robin van Persie, Rooney’s second after he opened the scoring and Antonio Valencia finishing off a sublime counter attack got David Moyes off tho a winning start in his managerial Champions League career.
Rooney though was the shining star for the United faithful once again, earning a standing ovation as he was replaced by Javier Hernandez late on, which robbed him of the chance of netting a European hat-trick nearly nine years after his three goals against Fenerbahce in his club debut – though it could be argued that he robbed himself of the chance after rounding goalkeeper Bernd Leno only to put the ball wide of the open goal.
Regardless, with his 200th effort, he reached the landmark that leaves him fourth in the all-time goalscorers list for United. Sir Bobby Charlton leads the way, netting 249 times in 758 appearances between 1956 and 1973.
Rooney is only 49 goals behind Charlton’s record – a figure he could possibly eclipse should he have two good seasons in front of goal for the reigning Premier League champions. Between him and Charlton stands Dennis Law, with 237 goals in just 404 games, and Jack Rowley, who is next in line for the 27-year-old as he sits on 211 goals in 424 games.
The England international’s record comes after playing 406 times for United – 402 of those came under former boss Sir Alex Ferguson – and his record is significantly better than fifth-placed George Best, who netted 179 times in 470 games for the same club. Level with Best is Dennis Viollet, who between 1953 and 1962 scored an impressive 179 goals in just 293 games having survived the Munich air disaster in 1958.
Rooney’s current team-mate Ryan Giggs is also in the top 10, with his 168 goals in 945 games leaving him joint-seventh with Joe Spence, while Paul Scholes, who yesterday returned to the club to assist Nicky Butt with the youth team coaching, sneaks on in tenth with 155 goals in 718 games having retired at the end of last season.
Manchester United’s all-time top ten goalscorers:
1. Sir Bobby Charlton: 249 goals, 758 appearances (1956 - 1973)
2. Dennis Law: 237, 404 (1962 - 1973)
3. Jack Rowley: 211, 424 (1937 - 1955)
4. Wayne Rooney: 200, 406 (2004 - present)
5. Dennis Viollet: 179, 293 (1953 - 1962)
=5. George Best: 179, 470 (1963 - 1974)
7. Joe Spence: 168, 510 (1919 - 1933)
=7. Ryan Giggs: 168, 945 (1991 - present)
9. Mark Hughes: 163, 467 (1983 - 1995)
10. Paul Scholes: 155, 718 (1994 - 2013)