Wayne Rooney's ten turbulent months: timeline
January 23: Rooney begins the year in rampaging form. He scores all of United's goals as they crush Blackburn 4-0 - his first four-goal haul - as United briefly displace Chelsea at the top of the table. January 27: His stoppage time winner against Manchester City takes United into the final of the League Cup. January 31: Rooney scores his 100th league goal at the Emirates as United beat Arsenal 3-1. February 6: Rooney is "the best player in the world" says Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti. February 16: Two headers against Milan help United to a 3-2 away win. February 28: Rooney continues to benefit from his improved heading (and some excellent crossing from his teammates) as he scores his fifth headed goal in a row in United's Carling Cup final victory over Aston Villa. March 2: Rooney is "the best in the world" says England and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard. March 10: "Rooney is the best player in the world," says Milan's David Beckham, after Rooney scores twice - taking his tally to 30 for the season - in United's 4-0 victory over Milan. March 11: Rooney is "the best player in the world," along with Lionel Messi, says Manchester City coach Roberto Mancini. March 17: "On current form, Wayne Rooney is the best in the world," says pundit Mark Lawrenson confidently, sealing Rooney's fate... March 30: Rooney twists an ankle after scoring in the second minute as United lose to Mayern Munich in the away leg of their Champions League quarter-final. He's ruled out for three weeks, and won't score again until late August. April 7: Rooney returns ahead of schedule for the return leg - and promptly injures the same ankle. United go 3-0 up but concede twice and exit the competition on away goals. Had Rooney made a miraculous recovery, or was Alex Ferguson risking his striker's fitness because he suspected his side lacked a plan B? May 4: Rooney is named PFA Player of the Year. But Chelsea go on to win the league by a point as Didier Drogba finishes as the league's top scorer. June 18: The low point of a dismal World Cup campaign for a striker who was supposed to use the tournament to cement his world-class status. Rooney attacks England fans after England draw with Algeria. "Nice to see your home fans booing you, that's loyal supporters." August 28: Rooney scores a penalty as United beat West Ham 3-0. It's the striker's first goal in more than 18 and a half hours of competitive football. But any hopes that Rooney will get back to scoring ways are soon dashed. September 5: The News of the World alleges that Rooney had been sleeping with a prostitute while his wife Coleen was pregnant. Could his personal strife be the cause of his sporting woes? September 11: Sir Alex Ferguson leaves Rooney out of the squad for United's game against Everton, claiming that he didn't want to expose his striker to the vindictive taunts of his old crowd. United draw 3-3. September 19: Rooney turns in a decent performance as United beat Liverpool 3-2, but is overshadowed by a new hero: Dimitar Berbatov stakes his claim to the central striker's position with a brilliant hat-trick. September 30: Rooney is left out of the side as United beat Valencia 1-0 in the Champions League - this time Ferguson claims that a niggling ankle injury was the cause of the problem. The manager gives the same reason when Rooney doesn't play as United play Sunderland away three days later. October 13: After playing the full 90 minutes in England's goalless draw with Montenegro Rooney publicly denies having an ankle problem. 'I've had no problems with my ankle all season,' Rooney said. 'I've been training for the last two months and I haven't missed a training session so there's no problem with my fitness.' Asked why Ferguson had said that he did have an ankle injury, Rooney replied: 'Don't know.'
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