Sir Alex Ferguson ensured Wayne Rooney got the matchball after his Man Utd debut

Manchester United v Fenerbahce SK

Who can forget Wayne Rooney’s incredible Manchester United debut in September 2004?

In his first appearance after joining United from Everton for £27 million, the 18-year-old scored a Champions League hat-trick in a 6-2 win against Fenerbahce.

It was a dream night for the youngster and it set the tone for the rest of his career at Old Trafford.

However, it didn’t end the way it should have done.

Having swapped shirts with a Fenerbahce player at full-time, Rooney approached the referee asking for the match ball.

“Can I have the ball?” Rooney asked.

But referee Frank De Bleeckere presumably didn’t recognise Rooney and replied: “that's for me” before laughing.

Rooney looked slightly confused and walked off the pitch to a heroes' reception.

But Sir Alex Ferguson soon came to his rescue.

In an interview in 2006, Rooney explained how his manager reacted in the dressing room and being told what had happened.

"I couldn't believe it," said Rooney.

"The manager just said, 'What? I'm not having that' and went off to see the ref. Next thing he's back with the ball and I couldn't thank him enough." 

Liverpool v Manchester United

What a man.

We’d love to have been a fly on the wall when Ferguson barged into the referees’ room after the match to demand the match ball.

Rooney went on to score a further 250 goals for the club and collected another seven match balls.

However, the legendary striker no doubt regards the ball he earned against Fenerbahce on his United debut as his most valuable.

And he’s got Ferguson to thank for finally getting his hands on it.

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