Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho said he will not stand in the way of record-breaking captain Wayne Rooney should he move to the Chinese Super League.
Rooney etched his name in history on Saturday as he became United’s all-time leading goalscorer in the 1-1 Premier League draw at Stoke City.
The 31-year-old came off the bench to salvage a point with a last-gasp free-kick in stoppage time, taking his tally to 250 goals in 546 appearances – leapfrogging Bobby Charlton.
Rooney’s future at Old Trafford, however, is far from certain amid interest from the lucrative CSL, where England’s all-time leading scorer was subject to a bid from Beijing Guoan before the start of the season.
And Mourinho would not begrudge Rooney if he followed Oscar and Carlos Tevez to China.
“I don’t like to be critical of players who decide to go to China,” Mourinho said. “It’s their life, it’s their organisation of their life, their organisation of their career.
“The money is huge. The experience can also be interesting.
“I know some of my colleagues think they are more important than they are and think they can interfere in the lives of other people, but I’m not that sort of guy.
“Everybody is responsible for their own life. I’m not critical with anyone.
“To be honest, in Wayne’s case, I have no idea because he has never mentioned it to me.”
Mourinho added: “I think the future belongs to him and what he wants in his career. The way he wants to end it, the way he wants to enjoy the last part of his, that belongs to him.
“I think he has more to give us.
“I repeat, he reaches a certain level in his career when it is up to him.
“Could anyone have been critical of Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] if last summer he decided to go to China or USA, one guy who has had an amazing career? It is the same with Wayne.
“He owns his career. It is him, his family and his decision, but of course, yes, I see him making an important contribution for us.”