Wayne Rooney joined Ronaldo and Messi in one of the greatest FIFA World XIs of all time

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Manchester United and England legend Wayne Rooney has hung up his boots.

Truth be told, the writing has been on the wall for some time with Rooney having wound down his career with DC United and Derby County after cutting his second Everton spell short in 2018.

As a result, the transition from the pitch to the technical arena at Pride Park has been a seamless one with the 35-year-old having taken the reins at the club after Phillip Cocu's sacking.

Rooney hangs up his boots

And while it will undoubtedly be exciting to see what Rooney has to offer as a permanent coach, that doesn't make it any less sad that we've seen the last of him as a professional player.

Besides, by way of finishing his career as United and England's all-time record goalscorer, he will rightfully be remembered as one of Europe's finest players of the 21st century.

And if there are any positives to be drawn from Rooney's retirement, it's the fact it's given football fans around the world a good excuse to look back on some of his greatest ever moments.

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Rooney's greatest seasons

For us, Rooney's finest years at Old Trafford came in the 2009/10 and 2011/12 campaigns where he scored 34 goals in all competitions on both occasions.

The two seasons saw him widely considered as one of the world's best players and it was arguably only the brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi that denied him a major individual prize.

But the latter campaign did ensure that Rooney didn't go the 2011 FIFA Ballon d'Or ceremony without acknowledgment, barging his way into a truly astonishing FIFPro World XI. 

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2011 FIFA FIFPro World XI

As you'll be aware, the early 2010s were dominated by the brilliance of Real Madrid, Barcelona and the Spanish national team, so breaking through their near-monopoly on awards was no easy task.

But alas, Rooney took his place alongside World Cup winners and the 91-goal Ballon d'Or winner himself for his fantastic 2011 performances, making for one of the greatest World XIs of all time.

And if you think we're just exaggerating because of Rooney's retirement, may we kindly refer you to the line-up down below because we can't see it losing a single match:

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Oh. My. Goodness.

A remarkable team

If that's not one of the strongest FIFPro World XIs of all time, then I don't know what is because prime Messi, Ronaldo, Xavi and Iniesta sharing the pitch is remarkable straight off the bat.

That's not to mention having a back five comprised of Casillas, Pique, Ramos, Vidic and Alves with the quality being so high that Alonso, for all his world-class ability, is arguably the weakest link.

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And Rooney is more than deserving of his place in the team having won the Premier League title and reaching the Champions League final, scoring against Pep Guardiola's legendary Barca side.

He also managed to notch what was voted as the Premier League's greatest ever goal with THAT bicycle kick against Manchester City and scored a hat-trick in the 8-2 win over Arsenal.

So, sure, Rooney might never have warranted a Ballon d'Or trophy of his own, but make no mistake that he deserved to rub shoulders with those who did in the world's greatest XI of 2011.

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