Wayne marked his 12-year Manchester United career on Wednesday night with a testimonial charity match against his former club Everton. It was a special night for the Manchester United captain as almost 60,000 fans packed the Theatre of Dreams to show their appreciation and help raise vital funds for sick and vulnerable children.
There was a huge cheer as Wayne walked out of the famous Old Trafford tunnel with his three children and through the guard of honour formed by the players and managers of both clubs. The striker applauded everybody in attendance, finishing with the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand where fans had unveiled an epic mosaic spelling out his name.
There was excitement around the stadium as Jose Mourinho walked along the touchline for the first time as Manchester United manager. It didn’t stop there; just before kick-off Wayne’s eldest son Kai took a seat in the dugout, which resulted in cheers from the crowd and a big grin from Kai.
It was a goalless first half that saw United dominate possession and create the better chances. One of the highlights was the positive link up play between Wayne and new signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, hopefully a sign of things to come. Wayne was substituted in the second-half and left the field to a standing ovation before taking a seat next to Kai.
The game eventually finished 0-0 and Wayne shook hands with the players and staff from both sides before addressing the crowd and thanking them for their support.
It was a proud night for Wayne, he said: “It was a fantastic night and I can’t thank everyone enough for coming. It was humbling that so many people turned up to help me celebrate this special occasion; it’s something I’ll never forget.
“The main purpose was to raise vital funds to help the Wayne Rooney Foundation support four amazing children’s charities. With the turn-out tonight I’ve no doubt that we will have achieved that. Everybody should be really proud of themselves.
“I’d like to say a big thank you to the club for granting me the testimonial and making this all happen. It’s been an incredible journey so far with lots of success and hopefully there’s more to come.
“Last but certainly not least, a huge thank you to the fans for your loyal support over the years. I really appreciate it all. It’s an honour to play for you and I look forward to making many more memories together.”
The aim of the Wayne Rooney Foundation is to improve and inspire the lives of children and young people. The foundation is supporting four children’s charities that do amazing work with sick and vulnerable children: Alder Hey, Claire House Children’s Hospice, Manchester United Foundation and NSPCC. If you wish to donate you can do so here – waynerooney.com/donate. If you are in the UK you can also text ‘ROONEY’ to 70800 to donate £5.