His influence started to diminish in his final years however and Jose Mourinho opted to start him on the bench in the 2017 Europa League final against Ajax.
The former England international was captain at the time, but he’d failed to hit double figures in the Premier League and was a bit-part player at most.
That said, Mourinho had his uses for Rooney and a three minute cameo encapsulated his 19 year career.
Rooney replaced Juan Mata with the Red Devils already 2-0 up thanks to goals from Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
He took the captain’s armband and went about boxing off a 13th and final major honour at the club with intent.
Ajax winger Amin Younes managed to flick the ball past Antonio Valencia and attempted to cut inside to get a shot away.
What he didn’t bargain on was Rooney flying in with a firm, but fair, challenge to win the ball and completely take him out.
Supporters inside the Friends Arena in Stockholm rose to their feet and applauded Rooney, who looked unbothered.
Minutes later, the final whistle blew and it brought the season as well as Rooney’s 13-year association with United to an end.
He would go on to rejoin boyhood side Everton on a free transfer the following July.
At full-time, he showed respect to a young Ajax team and chatted to winger David Neres.
Neres told ESPN: “Rooney knew my name. I couldn’t imagine that. At the end of the game, he greeted me and said my name. I couldn’t imagine.
“I was a bit upset because we lost the game. Then he came, greeted me, said my name, I even forgot the defeat. Pogba too, some of of Manchester players.”
Rooney finished his time at Old Trafford as United’s all-time top goalscorer with 253 goals in all competitions.
More importantly than that, his grit and determination inspired a generation of football fans. There’s a reason ‘skinhead Rooney’ is so iconic.