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Thursday 14 December 2017

Wayne Rooney, Sir Bobby Charlton and Manchester United's forgotten Italian job

Wayne Rooney has broken Sir Bobby Charlton's goalscoring records for England and Manchester United
Wayne Rooney has broken Sir Bobby Charlton's goalscoring records for England and Manchester United
Bobby Charlton scored twice on a largely forgotten trip to Italy with Manchester United

Wayne Rooney has officially drawn level with Sir Bobby Charlton as Manchester United's all-time top scorer - but some may argue he is still two goals shy.

The 31-year-old's effort off his knee seven minutes into Saturday's FA Cup third-round match against Reading was the 249th goal of Rooney's United career.

The goal saw him match the official total posted by Charlton, who was prominent among those celebrating the goal that levelled the record he set in 1973.

World Cup winner Charlton drew the curtain on his playing career at the end of a tough 1972/73 season, making the last of his 758 competitive appearances for United against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on April 28.

However, days later Charlton was in action again for United - and on the scoresheet.

The England great played in the Anglo-Italian Cup away to Hellas Verona on May 2, scoring twice to wrap up a 4-1 win in Veneto.

According to the Manchester United Opus club book, Charlton made an emotional speech in a local restaurant afterwards and was toasted with the region's best wine, but the match is merely considered a fond farewell.

United historians do not count the match towards official statistics.

Here is the match information according to the book Torneo Anglo Italiano, by Alfredo Corinti:

Date: May 2, 1973

Scoreline: Hellas Verona 1 Manchester United 4

Verona line-up: Giacomi, Ranghino, Monaldi, Bachlechner, Batistoni, Cozzi, Ciccolo, Mascetti, Fagni, Maioli, Jacomuzzi

Goal: Fagni 89

Manchester United line-up: Rimmer, Young, Sidebottom, Graham, Helton, Bucham, Morgan, Anderson (Olney, 46), Charlton, Macari, Daly

Goals: Olney 53, Fletcher 67, Charlton 70 and 88

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