Rooney Signs Five-Year Contract to Stay at Manchester United

Wayne Rooney signed a new five-year contract with Manchester United, two days after he said he wanted to leave the 18-time English soccer champion.

The agreement will keep Rooney at Old Trafford through June 2015, the club said today in a statement on its website. Financial terms weren’t disclosed, though the Observer reported on its website the deal is “thought to be worth as much as 180,000 pounds ($282,000) a week.

‘‘I’m delighted to sign another deal,’’ Rooney said in the statement. ‘‘In the last couple of days, I’ve talked to the manager and the owners and they’ve convinced me this is where I belong.”

The signing ends a week of uncertainty over the England striker’s future.

Manager Alex Ferguson said three days ago that Rooney wanted to leave and the player confirmed that the following day, saying the club lacked ambition in acquiring new players.

“It’s been a difficult week, but the intensity of the coverage is what we expect at Manchester United,” Ferguson said. “I said to the boy that the door is always open and I’m delighted Wayne has agreed to stay.”

Rooney has been criticized by U.K. media, fans and even opposing coaches for his wanting to leave with 18 months remaining on his contract. The Sun reported today that about 40 people picketed outside his home last night before police were called to disperse them.

Wayne Rooney of Manchester United. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images Close

Wayne Rooney of Manchester United. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

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Wayne Rooney of Manchester United. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

“Sometimes when you’re in a club, it can be hard to realize just how big it is and it takes something like the events of the last few days to make you understand,” Ferguson said. “I think Wayne now understands what a great club Manchester United is.”

Apology

Ferguson added the Rooney apologized today to him and his teammates.

“I always feel it’s a quality it’s a quality in a person to say he’s sorry,” Ferguson said on the club’s website. “I admire that in people. He realizes he made a mistake, and that happens, particularly with young people.”

Rooney, 24, has struggled this season, scoring just one goal, after injuries and media reports about his personal life limited his playing time. He’s had disagreements with Ferguson and said he wished to leave because he was worried about the club’s ability to sign new players.

“I’m signing a new deal in the absolute belief that the management, coaching staff, board and owners are totally committed to making sure United maintains its proud winning history, which is the reason I joined the club in the first place,” Rooney said.

Last Start

Rooney’s last start came against Bolton on Sept. 26, when he was substituted after 60 minutes. He then sat out two games because Ferguson said he was injured.

The player contradicted the manager after playing in England’s 0-0 draw with Montenegro on Oct. 12, saying he “didn’t know” why Ferguson thought he was hurt. The coach said he wanted to rest the striker, who hasn’t scored for United in open play since March.

Rooney returned to the lineup last weekend against West Brom, coming on as a substitute as United lost a 2-0 lead in drawing 2-2.

Rooney’s been under scrutiny because of allegations about his personal life. Ferguson left him out of a Sept. 11 game at former club Everton rather than subject him to potential fan abuse and said yesterday that he told Rooney he must “honor and respect the club’s traditions.”

“I’m sure the fans over the last week have felt let down by what they’ve read and seen,” Rooney said. “But my position was from concern over the future. The fans have been brilliant with me since I arrived and it’s up to me through my performance to win them over again.”

Boyhood Team

Rooney has scored 132 goals in 289 games for United since joining from boyhood team Everton for 27 million pounds ($42 million) in 2004. He enjoyed his most productive season during the 2009-10 campaign with 34 goals for his club and one for England.

Rooney was injured in training Tuesday and didn’t play in United’s Champions League match against Busaspor the following day. His status for the Premier League game against Stoke in two days hasn’t been determined. United is fourth in the Premier League, five points behind leader Chelsea.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at bbensch@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.

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