Club captain ended 13-year spell with Red Devils and moves to Goodison Park in deal which sees Romelu Lukaku go other way
JOSE MOURINHO has praised “model professional” Wayne Rooney after his 13-year spell with Manchester United ended.
The England captain returned to Everton as part of a deal which will see Romelu Lukaku move to Old Trafford.
United’s official Twitter account tweeted their thanks to the club’s record goal scorer along with the caption: “Farwell to a legend” — and Mourinho was also full of praise.
The Red Devils boss said: “It is no secret that I have long been an admirer of Wayne.
“He has been a model professional throughout his time at the club and will remain in the history books for many years to come.
“It is never easy to see a great player playing less football than he would like and I could not stand in his way when he asked to go back to Everton.
“His experience, focus and determination will be missed and I wish him well for the future.”
United chief executive Ed Woodward was equally exuberant in his praise of the 31-year-old.
The man who brokered the deal was nostalgic as he reminisced about some of Rooney’s most memorable moments in a Red Devils shirt — and reveals the return was at the striker’s “request”.
He added: “Wayne has been a fantastic servant to United since the moment he signed for us as a prodigiously talented, explosive teenager some 13 seasons ago.
“Who can forget his storybook debut hat trick against Fenerbahce, the spectacular overhead kick against [Manchester] City and the countless match-winning performances in his time here?
“But after much discussion, the club has decided to accept his request to rejoin his boyhood team.
“He goes having created some of the most magical moments in some of the most successful years in the club’s history.
“Wayne leaves us as our greatest ever goalscorer and having won every major trophy in the game.
“His record will take decades for anyone to get close to matching and I am extremely grateful for the way he has led from the front since being appointed club captain three years ago.
“On behalf of the whole club and our hundreds of millions of fans around the world, we wish Wayne all the very best for the next phase of his incredible career.”
Rooney won five Premier League titles, the EFL Cup four times, an FA Cup, a Europa League, a Fifa Club World Cup and the Champions League in 2008.