Or should we be discussing Wayne Rooney breaking Ruud van Nistelrooy’s Manchester United’s record..? In the 2002/03 season van Nistelrooy scored 44 goals in all competitions while Cristiano Ronaldo scored 42 during the 2007/08 season. Perhaps I’m wrong in saying this, there seems to be greater focus on Rooney surpassing Ronaldo’s goal scoring feat rather than Ruud’s. Am I wrong to think this?
Many people doubted this as Rooney’s previous highest goal tally for a season was 23, which was a fair enough argument. I felt after the departure of Ronaldo the team would be set up differently. In previous seasons the team had been built around Ronaldo allowing him a free role, which often meant Rooney playing out of position as a left winger. This season however, Rooney is the main man – no more playing on the left, no more tracking back chasing the opposition into our own half.
Sir Alex Ferguson has obviously instructed Rooney not to track back, to remain in a central position (giving the attack a focal point) and to do his best work in and around the penalty area.
Rooney currently has 32 goals. A minimum of 10 games remain with the possibility of 13 depending on how far we progress in the Champions League. Rooney has a great chance to surpass Ronaldo and Ruud. However, in my opinion there are a few variables which may prevent Rooney.
Will Rooney start every game? As the season nears to an end I’d be surprised if Rooney doesn’t start virtually every game. There may be the odd game where he doesn’t start. Also, if United are comfortably winning a game is Rooney likely to play the full 90 minutes? Say we are 3-0 up after 60 minutes will Fergie substitute Rooney? The counter argument of course if victory is a certainty, Rooney is likely to have made a winning contribution.
If Rooney is to better Ronaldo I feel it will boil down to fixtures against Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City. If Rooney is able to score two goals in those games I think he will easily surpass Ronaldo’s record. If he doesn’t score at least one, Rooney could be struggling. To better Ruud, I feel Rooney will have to score 3 or more goals in those fixtures.
Another point is how fortunate we are with the Champions League Draw. Obviously no team at this stage of the competition are pushovers, there are however easier teams than others. If we draw Barcelona in quarter final, Rooney will struggle in my opinion.
What do you think? How many goals will Rooney finish with this season?
Goal breakdown for van Nistelrooy, Ronaldo and Rooney:
van Nistelrooy – 2002/03 season
- Premier League: 34 games, 25 goals
- FA Cup: 3 games, 4 goals
- Carling Cup: 4 games, 1 goal
- Champions League: 11 games, 14 goals
- Total: 52 games, 44 goals
Ronaldo – 2007/08 season
- Premier League: 34 games, 31 goals
- FA Cup: 3 games, 3 goals
- Carling Cup: 0 games 0 games
- Champions League: 11 games 8 goals
- Total: 49 games, 42 goals
Rooney – 2009/10 season
- Premier League: 28 games, 25 goals
- FA Cup: 1 game, 0 goals
- Carling Cup: 3 games, 2 goals
- Champions League: 5 games, 4 goals
- International: 1 game, 1 goal
- Total: 38 games, 32 goals