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Page last updated at 13:30 GMT, Thursday, 11 March 2010

Rooney should aim to beat Ronaldo tally - Ferguson

Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney

Sir Alex Ferguson has challenged Wayne Rooney to surpass Cristiano Ronaldo's 42-goal season for Manchester United.

England striker Rooney reached 30 with two against AC Milan as United beat them 4-0 to send them crashing out of the Champions League 7-2 on aggregate.

"That has to be his goal now doesn't it?" said Ferguson referring to Ronaldo's 42-goal tally in 2007-08.

However, Rooney said: "I'm delighted to get two more goals but I haven't set a target. I just want to keep scoring."

The 24-year-old, who also scored twice in the first leg in Milan, added: "Overall, it was a great result and we are delighted to get through.

"The first goal was vital. We set out to get an early goal to kill the game off and when we got it we shattered Milan's confidence.

"That was the major turning point. Now we can just look forward to the quarter-finals draw [on 19 March] and see how it goes from there.

"There is no preference. They are all difficult games at this stage of the competition."

ROONEY'S UNITED GOAL RECORD
09-10: 30 (so far this season)
08-09: 17
07-08: 18
06-07: 23
05-06: 19
04-05: 17

Former team-mate David Beckham, currently on loan from La Galaxy to AC Milan, hailed Rooney as one of the best players in the world after his latest performance.

The veteran England midfielder Beckham said: "Wayne is such an exceptional talent.

"Without a doubt he is one of the best players, if not the best, in the world at the moment with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi."

Ferguson added: "Wayne continued tonight what he has done all season - he was absolutely sensational.

"(But) it was a marvellous performance from all my players, especially in the second half when our second goal effectively ended the contest.

"When we play with that tempo we're very difficult for anybody to play against.

"Ji-Sung Park, in particular, showed sacrifice, intelligence and discipline and we needed that against [Milan midfielder] Andrea Pirlo."

Asked who he would like to face in the last eight of the competition, Ferguson added: "With the kind of team I've got, it doesn't matter who we get."

Beckham, despite his disappointment on the night, admitted he will remember the occasion for a long time thanks to the rapturous reception he received from United's supporters on his return to Old Trafford.

"It was a disappointing night because we lost the game, but returning here is always special," he said. "It was an unbelievable reception I got, incredible, and I have to say thank you.

"If this is my last appearance at Old Trafford, I'll take the memory of the fans away with me - they were incredible.

"Of course I now want United to go on and win it. They deserve it."

David Beckham wearing a green and gold scarf at the end of the game at Old Trafford
David Beckham put on a protestor's scarf at the end of the game

Beckham left the field wearing a green and gold scarf thrown to him by a fan protesting against the Glazer family, who own the club, but he denied that meant he is anti-Glazer.

"I'm a Manchester United fan. I saw the scarf there, I put it round my neck," he said. "It's the old colours of United, that's all I knew.

"To be honest it's not my business. I support the club. I always have done and I always will do.

"It's nothing to do with me the way everything is run, that's to do with other people but I'm a United fan and I will always support them.

"Obviously you can hear it week in and week out. There's always protests going on. Let's hope it gets sorted out."

Milan coach Leonardo, meanwhile, admitted his side had simply been outclassed at Old Trafford.

606: DEBATE
matthew

"I guess we can analyse the game in many ways, but the one thing we cannot deny is the performance of United," said the Brazilian. "They played a truly great game.

"Conceding a goal so early made a comeback even more complicated for us.

"In the first leg we played an equal match. We lost but we dominated for some periods. Today was different.

"We have some problems but United is a very strong team, they can use your mistakes in the best way. They are very clinical and that is what you have to be in this competition."



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see also
Leonardo hails 'incredible' Rooney
10 Mar 10 |  Football
Man Utd 4-0 AC Milan (agg 7-2)
10 Mar 10 |  Europe
Wednesday football as it happened
10 Mar 10 |  Football
Wednesday's football photos
10 Mar 10 |  Football
AC Milan 2-3 Man Utd
16 Feb 10 |  Europe


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