Manchester United, after weeks of speculation, made its sometimes troubled but clearly talented star striker Wayne Rooney one of the world’s highest paid footballers Friday, inking the 28-year-old to a contract that will pay him a reported £300,000 per week. That’s about $500,000 in American money.
The contract runs through the end of the 2019 season, with an estimated total value of $136 million. But by the time it expires, Wayne Rooney will be 33 years old.
After Manchester United rewarded Rooney, he rewarded the team, scoring the second Manchester United goal in a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in London Saturday. The victory puts Manchester United back on a winning track after two draws and a loss in their previous three matches — and only one win in their last five before beating 15th-place Palace.
The win also nudges Manchester United up to sixth position in the Barclays Premier League table, level on points with Everton but ahead on goal difference. Still, Manchester United’s 45 points still leaves them eight adrift of fourth-place Liverpool, who host 12th-place Swansea at Anfield Sunday.
A Liverpool win in that match would again leave Manchester United 11 points short of a UEFA Champions League qualification spot with only games remaining to close the gap. With Chelsea topping the table on 60 points, a shot at repeat Premier League title appears all but impossible for Manchester United.
But the season is not a total loss as they got their man, insuring that Rooney will remain in Manchester United red for, in all likelihood, the rest of his career, or at least the most effective parts of it.
His goal today, which allowed Manchester United relax after tentatively defending a 1-0 lead on a Robin Van Persie penalty kick for much of the game, seemed a measure of vindication.
“The ball sat up nicely, I made decent contact and it was nice to see it fly in,” Rooney said after the win. “The deal has been more or less done for a month. I wanted to get it done as quickly as possible and now I can move on. I am happy and settled and am committed to helping the club become successful. I’ve been at the club for 10 years and it’s important we stick together and look to progress.”
Unfortunately, that progress may not materialize until next season for Manchester United.