The FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2008 has been an extremely successful tournament for Wayne Rooney. Not only did the England international pick up a winner's medal, he also walked away with the adidas Golden Ball and TOYOTA award, as well as being the event's leading goalscorer.
His 73rd minute goal gave Manchester United the victory over Liga de Quito, which gave the English club the satisfaction of being crowned champions of England, Europe and the world within the space of seven months.
However, after being left on the bench for the opening game after sustaining an injury, Rooney revealed to FIFA.com that he approached Sir Alex Ferguson to ask if he could play in the final. Fortunately for the Red Devils, the Scot agreed - and United can now make the 6,000 mile journey home with the coveted trophy in tow.
FIFA.com. Wayne - at the end the fans were singing ‘Champions of England, Champions of Europe, Champions of the world.' How did that make you feel?
Wayne Rooney: I'm delighted. It's a great feeling to be crowned champions of the world. It was a difficult game after going down to ten men, so I'm really pleased with the win. It's a great achievement for me and the entire club. I came to Manchester United to win trophies, so to win the Premier League, the Champions League and now to be crowned as world champions in the same year is absolutely great. It's something we're really proud of.
What did you think of Liga de Quito's performance?
I thought they were a good team, they passed the ball really well and when we went down to ten men, they kept the ball well at times and made us work hard for the win. All credit to them. However, I think that we still created the better chances, so that made us feel positive despite being a man down. Plus we were defending well, so I always felt that we had it in us to win the match - and that's what happened.
However, when called upon, your keeper did his job well.
Edwin [van der Sar] was outstanding. He made some great saves just as he did in the first game. He's a world-class goalkeeper, so we know that if we score goals, he'll do his job at the other end. That's a great feeling for the squad to have.
What did you think of his opposite number, Jose Cevallos? When he denied you time and time again, particularly in the first half, did you think that it wasn't going to be your night?
He made a few good saves from myself and I knew that if we kept working and kept going, we'd get our chances and I felt confident that I'd take one of them. Luckily for me, that's what happened.
Whenever you've played during this tournament, you've done so with a tremendous sense of enjoyment...
I love playing football - I never like to be sub, so when I wasn't playing the other night, I actually went to see the manager to ask if I could play tonight - I'm very grateful that he let me! I've really enjoyed it. It's been a good trip and it's all been worthwhile with the win.
This tournament has had some detractors. What would you say to them?
I'm sure that the people who are saying that this tournament isn't worthwhile are the ones who aren't here. I'm sure that every club would love to win this trophy. I'm sure that if Chelsea had won the Champions League final, they'd have loved to be here. This is an achievement that we're really proud of. We came out here to win it - and that's what we've done.
How did it feel to win the adidas Golden Ball?
To be named as the player of the tournament is absolutely great. I'm delighted - and I want to build on this. Since I've been here, I've developed, and in the last few years, we've won trophies, which are the main thing for the club. If we can keep on doing that and progressing as a team the way we are, then we'll win even more.
You've now won the FIFA Club World Cup - I'm sure you'd settle for winning the tournament and the adidas Golden Ball at the FIFA World Cup™ now!
Well, if I can do as well with England at the next World Cup - that would be great! It's something we're working on, so hopefully we'll do well in South Africa.