Wayne Rooney Left out of Manchester United's Starting Lineup vs. Real Madrid

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IMarch 5, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 23:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United  during the Barclays Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and Manchester United at Loftus Road on February 23, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Ian Walton/Getty Images

Manchester United superstar Wayne Rooney has been left out of the squad's lineup for Tuesday's Champions League tilt with Real Madrid at Old Trafford, according to The Guardian football writer Daniel Taylor (via Twitter):

Wayne Rooney is left out and Giggs starts for #MUFC on night of his 1,000th game - via @clivetyldesley

— Daniel Taylor (@DTguardian) March 5, 2013

With Rooney out of the starting lineup, veteran midfielder Ryan Giggs will make his 1,000th senior appearance. The move is certainly a puzzling one by Sir Alex Ferguson. 

Tuesday's match, the second leg of the two clubs' UEFA Champions League Round of 16 clash, is absolutely pivotal, as a 0-0 draw would send United through to the quarterfinals and would eliminate Spanish powerhouse Madrid. Of course, a Madrid victory would send United home disappointed instead, and open up Ferguson to tons of criticism for this decision. 

February's first leg ended in a 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu, as Cristiano Ronaldo leveled the match in the 30th minute, negating a 20th-minute goal from United's Danny Welbeck. Rooney assisted on Welbeck's early goal, and also recorded two shots in the draw.

The 27-year-old Rooney, who scored a goal in United's English Premier League win over Norwich City this past weekend, has made five Champions League starts in 2012-13, scoring just one goal on 14 shots and tallying three assists over that time.

Meanwhile, Giggs, 39, has appeared in four Champions League matches for United this season, coming on late in two as a substitute. The veteran has one assist but zero goals in those four appearances. 

Tuesday's match is set to kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET 


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