WAYNE ROONEY and Cristiano Ronaldo combined during the most successful period in Manchester United’s history.
But while one still has the world at his feet the other doesn’t even have the ball at his.
Together they starred as United won three straight Premier League titles from 2006-07 AND the Champions League.
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On Tuesday, Ronaldo was scoring a hat-trick to take his goals tally in Europe’s elite competition to 100.
That led Real Madrid to the semi-final as they chase back-to-back titles.
Rooney, meanwhile, was wondering whether he would make the bench for tonight’s Europa League quarter-final second leg against Anderlecht.
Ronaldo is 32, nine months older than Rooney, and showing no signs of slowing down.
Rooney, by contrast, has been in reverse for a couple of years now. Indeed his career is almost at a stop.
It is unlikely, fit or not, that we will see him start a game for Manchester United again.
Michael Carrick’s June testimonial will probably be Rooney’s last appearance in a Red Devils shirt.
How poignant that it will be in a team of players from United’s 2008 Champions League-winning team, in which he and Ronaldo starred.
The two may even play alongside each other once again.
If the Portuguese superstar can make it, that is.
The Champions League final is the night before — and there is every chance Ronaldo will be in it.
While it will be Carrick’s day, it will end up as Roo’s farewell before he heads to a footballing backwater in China or America.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, will continue to push for major trophies and Ballons d’Or.
United boss Jose Mourinho all but admitted yesterday that, at 31, age had caught up with Rooney when it comes to recovering from knocks.
t has been an ankle issue recently, apparently — tooth surgery before that.
In the meantime, Ronaldo gets kicked from pillar to post and still gets up and goes and scores. The ultimate footballing athlete.
Talking of Rooney’s chances of being involved against Anderlecht at Old Trafford tonight — with the score 1-1 after the first leg — Mourinho said: “He’s working now, improving.
“If, in the training session, there is something positive I will select him to be on the bench. His experience, his know-how, can be useful. If we need a goal he can help us.
“If we need to keep a result, to keep the ball, to keep possession he can help us too. Hopefully his answer in training is positive.
“He had a lot of big problems, a few small problems a few times when you get to a certain age — I’m not saying he’s old — it’s a little bit more difficult to recover.”
The problem is that, even when fully fit, Rooney has become surplus to requirements. He has made just nine league starts this season. The best United performances under Mourinho have been without him like on Sunday in the 2-0 win over Premier League leaders Chelsea.
A performance which is now the benchmark.
Mourinho said: “It was a very good performance. We touched the right points. The team was very intense, quick to recover the ball. It was a really good performance.
“I always think that football is a lot about the motivational levels and of course playing the leaders is always a challenge. It’s also a challenge for the big teams to play against Manchester United.
“We reached that level, against Chelsea especially, because we started from minute one.”
For Rooney, his last great act in a United shirt was to get that all-time club goalscoring record in January.
What a record it is too. He is also England’s leading scorer. He deserves a statue to him at Old Trafford.
It is pretty much all over now but, for his friend and former team-mate Ronaldo, the story goes on.