Vardy, Ronaldo among five opponents for Rooney as Man Utd legend prepares for Misfits Boxing debut

Lewis Oldham
Rooney boxing debut
Wayne Rooney *should* fight Cristiano Ronaldo or Jamie Vardy in his boxing debut.

Wayne Rooney has ‘held talks’ with Misfits Boxing and is ‘considering’ stepping into the ring to fight for the promotion, but who could he face?

It was very kind of The Mirror to gift us this content-rife gem of a story and in response, Rooney has not exactly shut it down completely:

You never know. They’ve been in touch and asked the question. I think at the minute I want to focus on getting back into management, not boxing.

Going off how poorly his last job at Birmingham City went, the Manchester United and Everton legend may find getting punched in the face more comfortable than returning to management. And with that, here are five potential foes we could see Rooney having a dust-up with…


Phil Bardsley
How about Rooney kicks things off by seeking revenge for a past defeat?

If you cast your mind back to 2015, a video went viral of Rooney sparring with former Man Utd team-mate (and fellow boxing fanatic) Bardsley in his kitchen. This fight did not go well for the host as he was floored by his heavy-handed rival.

He took this embarrassing moment on his chin and pulled off one of the great Premier League celebrations when he recreated his knockout after scoring a couple of days later against Tottenham Hotspur, while Man Utd’s manager at the time – Louis van Gaal – reacted to the whole thing in very unsurprising fashion as he “p*ssed himself laughing”.  Never change, Louis.

Rooney and Bardsley are presumably still pals but you can just imagine how their interactions go after a beer or two: ‘Oh Wayne, do you remember when I knocked you out in your own home? Good times…’.

He may have been a slightly better player than Bardsley, but it would not be surprising if this viral video still irritates a hot-headed Rooney to this day and he really ought to get this monkey off his back if he’s to enter the crossover boxing scene.


John Eustace
Rooney’s managerial reputation has taken a huge hit after Birmingham City made the biggest cock-up of the season by needlessly drafting in the Man Utd legend to replace Eustace.

Under Eustace, Birmingham – with the help of an increase in investment provided by their American owners – were headed for the play-offs after he overachieved in 2022/23 to ensure they maintained their Championship status.

But Birmingham’s investors proved earlier this season that they were guilty of being blinded by their pursuit of glitz and glamour as they rashly replaced the flourishing but less-heralded Eustace for the world-famous Rooney.

As we know now, the big name does not always deliver success: Rooney’s brief 15-game stint as manager ended prematurely as the toxicity increased beyond repair after Birmingham fell from play-off contenders to being at risk of relegation.

While Rooney’s pathway to return to management is so unclear that he’s having to turn to boxing, Eustace has had the last laugh as he is back with Blackburn Rovers.

Eustace should be feeling pretty smug knowing how his season has ended up going compared to Rooney’s but if he wants to hammer another nail in the Man Utd legend’s coffin, he could also look to get the better of his managerial rival in a boxing ring.


Rio Ferdinand
Rooney is a bit late to the footballer-turned-boxer party as former Man Utd and England team-mate Ferdinand pursued a professional career as a fighter in 2017.

This venture did not go as the pundit intended as he ‘retired’ after the British Boxing Board of Control denied him a professional license. But he at least showed an appetite for fighting and the prospect of a clash with Rooney in Misfits (where you don’t need to be a pro to compete) may be enough to entice him back.

For those wondering where the potential beef would be between Rooney and Ferdinand to justify this fight, I point you to the latter recently suggesting the failed manager was his “worst team-mate” as they “screamed at each other once every two or three games”. That’s enough for me.

Plus, you know, ‘hi rio do u want picking up in the morning pal’.

After weeks of winding each other up in the build-up, they – especially with how competitive the two Man Utd legends are – would be ready to knock their opponent’s head off come fight night.

READ MORE: Kaoru Mitoma tops ranking of Dan Ashworth signings by chance of following him to Man Utd


Cristiano Ronaldo
If you were thinking this list was lacking a fight with a blood feud, don’t worry because here’s one and another will follow shortly…

While Rooney and Ronaldo spent years complementing each other superbly as part of Man Utd’s fearsome attack, the Englishman has more reason than most (barring Erik ten Hag) to want to give Al Nassr’s man-child a pasting; it would be entirely justified just for being friends with Piers Morgan – during whose interview Ronaldo tried to KO Rooney.

There is the obvious narrative of that wink from Ronaldo after Rooney suffered one of the worst moments of his career at the 2006 World Cup, but also that the multiple-time Ballon d’Or winner’s flashy brilliance saw his team-mate not get the credit he deserved for his imperious performances at United.

Speaking in wrestling terms, Rooney snapping and turning on Ronaldo would stand as a justified heel turn after what he was put through in his career and everyone except those weirdly obsessed fanboys of the Portugal international would love to see him take the ego hit of being beaten in a boxing ring by a rather angry Scouser.


Jamie Vardy
It’s… Jamie Vardy.

The whole Wagatha Christie saga was equal in hilarity and stupidity for as long as it lasted and while the majority of the entertainment was reserved for the courtroom, it’s hard not to feel short-changed that the Vardy and Rooney families settled their differences through the legal route rather than in a boxing ring. It just would have been way more fun had they opted for violence.

Jamie and Wayne presumably spent much of this saga in bemusement thinking: ‘What are we doing here?’. Going off how they have acted during their respective playing careers, it’s reasonable to assume that they would have preferred their beef to be settled the old-fashioned way.

If we’re doing it properly, Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy would face off as well to make this a must-see double-header on a card dubbed ‘Bad Blood’. So which family is better, there’s only one way to find out… FIGHT!