Wayne Rooney so proud to break Manchester United all-time goals record
Wayne Rooney said it meant "a hell of a lot" to become Manchester United's record scorer as his 250th goal arrived in stunning fashion at Stoke.
Just when Saturday afternoon looked set to be one to forget for United, up stepped 31-year-old Rooney with his history-making strike.
The player who arrived from Everton in 2004 bent home an outstanding stoppage-time free-kick to cancel out Juan Mata's first-half own goal, securing a 1-1 draw and a place in United's record books.
The forward had already overtaken World Cup winner Sir Bobby Charlton as England's top scorer and said it filled him with pride to do the same at club level.
"Obviously it is a proud moment," Rooney said. "It is a bit of a strange feeling as obviously we wanted three points but didn't get it.
"But on the other end it is a proud moment for myself to get that record and a huge honour for me.
"I've been at the club a long time. Obviously those goals have built up over the years but to finally get that record it is a great feeling."
The 1-1 draw may be frustrating now, but in years to come the historic strike will no doubt be one he savours.
"We looked at set-pieces before the game and we knew it could be important today," Rooney said before boarding the United team bus.
"When we got it, I actually indicated to (Ander) Herrera that I was going to shoot, to make sure the players try and get across the keeper to try and put him off. As soon as I hit it, I knew it was in."
In a separate interview, Rooney told Sky Sports: "(It means) a hell of a lot. It's something I never expected when I joined the club but I'm really proud and hopefully there's a lot more to come."
United's 2,557 away fans celebrated wildly as the ball found the top corner, with Charlton among the first to congratulate Rooney in the dressing room.
The 79-year-old said he was naturally a little disappointed to see the record set in 1973 broken but also "delighted for Wayne".
"He deserves his place in the history books," Charlton said. "He is a true great for club and country, and it is fitting that he is now the highest goalscorer for both United and England.
"It has been great to watch him every week since his arrival at Old Trafford in 2004; he set the tone with a wonderful hat-trick on his debut and he has thrilled us all in the years since, going on to enjoy a hugely successful career.
"I was 35 when I retired. Wayne is only 31 and still going strong, so I don't think he's done by a long stretch yet.
"He continues to show that he can contribute goals, assists and performances whenever called upon, he will raise the bar even further before he calls it a day.
"Now he's the man to beat, and I can't see anybody doing that for a long, long time."
While Rooney may not yet be as widely loved as the man he has replaced as United's all-time top scorer, his impact is undeniable.
A five-time Premier League champion, the 31-year-old has also won the Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, FA Cup and two League Cups.
Much of that success came under former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who also quick to praise United's record-breaker.
"I would like to say huge congratulations to Wayne on reaching this milestone," Ferguson said.
"It is no mean feat to score so many goals and he breaks a record that has stood for over 40 years.
"Wayne thoroughly deserves his place in the history books of this great club and I am sure that he will go on to score many more goals.
"Well done Wayne, I am absolutely delighted for you, you have been a great servant to this club and long may it continue."
United players past and present echoed such sentiments, as did current United boss Jose Mourinho.
"It's a record of the biggest club in England, one of the biggest clubs in the world," Mourinho said.
"It's a record that belonged before him to an amazing legend of English football, so now Wayne becomes definitely a legend for Manchester United."
Rooney, who is receiving the Football Writers' Association tribute award on Sunday evening, was also praised by former United player Mark Hughes, even if the free-kick cost his Stoke side victory.
"It is unbelievable," the Stoke boss said. "Sir Bobby's record has stood for 40-odd years, so it tells you how difficult it is.
"A lot of good strikers have come and gone in that time and not got anywhere near it.
"Clearly we didn't want it to happen today but he has done that throughout his career.
"You only have to give top players one opportunity and that is what he had."