Former Manchester United and England star Wayne Rooney has completed his move to D.C. United, after the MLS club and Everton confirmed on Thursday that a transfer agreement has been reached.
The announcement comes after Rooney, 32, posted a picture showing himself flying to the United States earlier in the day. D.C. United confirmed Rooney has signed a multiyear deal shortly after Everton announced an undisclosed transfer fee had been agreed.
Rooney will wear the No. 9 shirt and make his MLS debut when D.C. plays its first game in its newly constructed stadium, Audi Field, on July 14 against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
"It is fantastic to be joining D.C. United at such an exciting time in the club's history with the new stadium opening in just a few weeks," Rooney said in a statement. "Moving to America and MLS fulfills another career ambition for me. I have the hunger to be a success here and will give D.C. 100 percent -- as I have always done for every team I have ever played for.
"When I visited earlier this summer I was really impressed with everyone I met connected with the club, and of course the new Audi Field. Now I can't wait to get on the pitch in a United shirt and join my new teammates to bring success to this club."
D.C. United did not reveal any contract details besides confirming he would be a designated player. The Washington Post reported that Rooney will become the franchise's highest-paid player after signing a two-and-a-half year contract that will pay him about $13 million in total.
In Everton's statement announcing the transfer, the Premier League club suggested Rooney was going to sign a deal for three-and-a-half years.
Rooney could start training with his new team by the end of this week, according to the Post, which reported that he has already secured his U.S. visa and work permit. An introductory news conference has been scheduled for Monday morning.
"Wayne is undoubtedly one of the best players in Premier League history and his goal scoring record for club and country speaks for itself," D.C. United general manager Dave Kasper said in a statement. "He is a world-class player, and he elevates those around him, both through his work ethic and winning mentality. We are beyond excited to add someone of Rooney's caliber, and we are thrilled to welcome him to D.C."
D.C. United is in need of help, with the team in last place in the Eastern Conference on an MLS-low 10 points after 12 matches, all but two of them away from home. Manager Ben Olsen said Rooney can help the team course-correct.
"He is coming here to win," Olsen told WTOP. "That was one of the first things that stood out when I first talked to him. He is not coming here to wind down his career but to help us become a team that will contend for a title."
Rooney spent last season with his boyhood club, Everton, after leaving Manchester United in the summer of 2017, scoring 11 goals in 40 matches across all competitions as the Toffees finished eighth in the Premier League.
Rooney still had one year left on his deal with Everton, but the club did not stand in the way of England's record goal scorer leaving to play in the United States.
"From everyone at Everton, we thank Wayne for his service to the club and wish him every success in the next three and a half years with D.C. United," an Everton statement said.
In 2004, Rooney signed with Manchester United, leaving Everton as an 18-year-old in a £25.6m deal. He went on to score 253 goals in 559 appearances for the club, winning the Premier League title five times.
Rooney, fifth on United's all-time list of appearance-makers, also won the Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and three League Cups during 13 seasons at United.
Rooney retired from the England national team a year ago, ending his international career as the nation's all-time top scorer with 53 goals in 119 appearances, which is also the most for an outfield player.
David Beckham, who made a splash by moving to MLS in 2007, supported his former England's teammate's move to the United States, saying "I think he'll do really well."
"I think it's great for Wayne. I also think it is obviously great for the league, but I think for Wayne personally," Beckham told MLS. "He's played for one of the biggest clubs and been successful at one of the biggest clubs in the game, with Manchester United.
"I think when he moved back to Everton after United, I felt that he was going to firstly go from United and play in the U.S. or play in China or Japan.
"But obviously he decided to go back to his boyhood club, which was great for him, it was a great occasion to spend the time he spent back at Everton. But I think it's the right move for him. I think it's exciting for the fans."