Rooney rocked United by handing in a transfer request in 2010 and was ready to leave Old Trafford, alerting Premier League rivals and Europe’s elite.
Wayne Rooney has revealed how much he considered a move to Spain, particularly Barcelona
Rooney felt he could have slotted in perfectly around the likes of Lionel Messi at the Nou Camp
Rooney was relishing the prospect of being on the same side as midfielder Andres Iniesta
‘In my head, at the time, in that two-day period, I was ready to go and play in Spain,’ Rooney told the United podcast. ‘Ideally, I would have liked to have gone to Barcelona, but it was looking more likely to be Real Madrid than Barcelona. Chelsea were always there as well.
‘I remember sitting down for one day and thinking “imagine playing in that Barcelona team – Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets”. And at that time Messi wasn’t playing the way he plays now, as a No 9 for instance. He was out wide.
‘I was thinking I could have slotted in perfectly. I could have come to the ball as well and have players running in behind. I remember thinking about that.’
Rooney admitted that in terms of Premier League rivals, Chelsea and Manchester City were leading the chase for his signature.
‘I think it was well documented that Chelsea and Mourinho wanted to sign me,’ Rooney said.
‘There was Real Madrid, Barcelona and the Man City thing keeps cropping up, but there was never the option for me to go there. Although there were rumours on that as well, but the other three, really, were more realistic options.’
As it was, Rooney decided to remain at United. He signed a new five-year contract and stayed until 2017 – and eventually worked under Mourinho at the club – before later rejoining his boyhood club Everton.
Upon signing the terms that saw him remain at Old Trafford in 2010, Rooney cited Ferguson’s influence.
‘I said on Wednesday the manager’s a genius and it’s his belief and support that convinced me to stay,’ he explained.
Rooney and Pep Guardiola could have been colleagues rather than rivals if Rooney left United
Rooney had a testing relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson but has always underlined his respect
In recent weeks, Rooney has opened up on his relationship with Ferguson and how, for all their successes together, he was dismayed over the legendary manager’s approach to the 2009 and 2011 Champions League finals.
‘We lost two Champions League finals going toe-to-toe with Guardiola’s Barcelona, by trying to press high and get round them, which was suicidal,’ Rooney wrote earlier this year in his Sunday Times column.
‘I remember Alex Ferguson saying “we’re Man United and we’re going to attack, it’s in the culture of this football club” and thinking “I’m not too sure about this”.
‘I think all the players knew, deep down, it was the wrong approach, that we were abandoning the way that had brought us success in that 2008 semi-final — and sure enough both times we got outplayed.
‘There is being true to the club, but then there’s sitting back afterwards and thinking “we lost”.’
Recently, Rooney has revealed how unimpressed he was with Sir Alex Fergsuon’s tactics in the 2009 Champions League final, which United lost 2-0 to Barcelona (pictured above)
United were the losing side once again in 2011, going down 3-1 to Barcelona at Wembley
Rooney has otherwise been effusive in his praise of Ferguson and underlined how much he relished working with the Scot at United.
Together, they won five Premier League titles at United and the Champions League in 2008.
Speaking to Sportsmail in 2018, Rooney said: ‘I was in a dressing room with Gary Neville and Roy Keane. I was 19 having rows with Gary, even with Alex Ferguson. That’s how it should be.
‘Sir Alex was really clever like that. He knew who he could have a go at, who it was best to leave alone. He always knew it brought the best out of me. It wouldn’t work with Nani.’
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