Wayne Rooney believes Cristiano Ronaldo exit in 2009 began Manchester United decline
United have been in decline since Cristiano Ronaldo left in 2009.
Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid for a then-record fee after winning his first Ballon d’Or with Manchester United the year before.
This season’s hopes of winning silverware have been dashed after United’s FA Cup exit to Middlesbrough.
Rooney believes United’s decline began before Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.
Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez, who formed a lethal front three with Rooney, both left the club in the same summer, according to Rooney.
Even though United went on to win the league in Ferguson’s final season, Rooney calls it a “miracle” that they did.
“You could see it was going to go backwards before it could go forwards,” Rooney told the Mirror.
Rooney expressed his concerns at the time, refusing to sign a new contract in 2010 before committing his future to United.
“I saw that and that is why I asked the questions. Sadly, they probably still haven’t recovered.
2013 was not a great team. It was a miracle we won the League, in my opinion.
“It was (Robin) van Persie. I think him coming in at nine and scoring those goals lifted everyone.
“It was a bit of a masterstroke by the manager to bring him in hungry and older. He saved us that season.”
Many credit Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, but Rooney believes Ronaldo’s move to Real Madrid sparked their decline.