UTD Podcast: When Wayne tried to leave
For 48 hours in 2010, after handing in a transfer request, Rooney was the most wanted man in world football...
“I think it was well documented that Chelsea and Mourinho wanted to sign me,” says Rooney to our hosts Helen Evans, Sam Homewood and David May. “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. “In my head, at the time, in that two-day period basically, I was ready to go and play in Spain. 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. “After a couple of days, I spoke to David Gill again and when there were those protests at my house, I’d actually already agreed to sign the new contract by that time. I was thinking ‘Jesus’, it was three o’clock in the morning and I didn’t fancy going out to calm down 20 or 30 lads with their hoods up! “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, but the biggest thing for me was it was sorted out – I had good conversations with David Gill to get it sorted.” Asked how that time affected his relationship with United supporters, Rooney says: “I don’t think it was immediately forgotten. I could feel the tension in the first few games and some fans, to this day, probably won’t get over it fully. I understand that. As a fan, that’s your club and I can understand that situation. From my point of view, I was getting my head down and working hard, trying to perform and score goals.”