Wayne Rooney won the Premier League title five times at Manchester United and is the league's all-time second top scorer; Patrick Vieira won the league three times with Arsenal and captained the 'Invincibles' team to the 2003/04 title when they did not lose a match
Tuesday 22 March 2022 12:04, UK
Wayne Rooney and Patrick Vieira have become the latest players to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame.
Rooney is the Premier League's all-time second top scorer, with 208 goals for Manchester United - with whom he won five league titles - and Everton.
Vieira won three Premier League titles during 11 seasons with Arsenal and captained the 'Invincibles' team to the title in 2003/04, when they did not lose a match.
Rooney and Vieira are the ninth and 10th players to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, joining Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry, Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Frank Lampard, Dennis Bergkamp, Steven Gerrard and David Beckham.
Rooney burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old for Everton when he scored a spectacular winner against Arsenal at Goodison Park - his first Premier League goal.
He then joined Manchester United for nearly £30m in August 2004 and would go on to become an Old Trafford legend.
In 13 years at United, Rooney became the club's record scorer in the competition with 183 goals, won the league five times - including three in a row between 2006/07 and 2008/09 - and was named the league's Player of the Season in 2009/10.
He also twice won the Premier League Goal of the Season award at United, for his long-range volley against Newcastle United in 2004/05 and his bicycle kick against title rivals Manchester City in 2010/11.
The 36-year-old, who currently manages Championship side Derby County, said: "It's a huge honour for me to be named in the Premier League Hall of Fame, alongside an incredible group of players who have already been inducted.
"Growing up, I watched the Premier League as far back as I can remember. My dream was always to become a professional footballer, score goals, and win trophies, and I was lucky enough to win the Premier League five times.
"I have so many brilliant memories from my years playing for Everton and Manchester United, and I'm really proud of what we achieved. To enter the Hall of Fame is very special for me personally and I'm grateful to be recognised."
Vieira joined Arsenal from AC Milan in 1996 and helped the Gunners to win the Premier League for the first time in 1997/98 in his second season at the club.
The midfielder was named Premier League Player of the Season in 2000/01 and then won the 2001/02 and 2003/04 titles alongside team-mates Henry and Bergkamp, who have also been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The Frenchman scored 31 goals and provided 34 assists during 307 Premier League appearances for Arsenal and Manchester City, where he spent one season before retiring in 2011.
The 45-year-old, who currently manages Crystal Palace, said: "Being inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame is a fantastic achievement. When I received the news, I thought about being a young boy playing in Senegal, or in a suburb of Paris.
"To be there with the best players in the Premier League, the best league in the world, is bigger than what I was ever thinking about. To have my name around those players makes me proud and makes me realise how good I was.
"It's not bad company to join. I was lucky to play at the same time as some of them, of course including Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp. So to share the stage with them makes me realise I had a really good career.
"What really makes me happy and proud is when your name is mentioned by new, up-and-coming holding midfielders as an example of how they would like to play."
The Hall of Fame recognises and celebrates the exceptional skill and talent of individuals who have graced the Premier League since its inception in 1992. It is the highest individual honour awarded to players by the league.
All inducted players receive a medallion engraved with their name and the year of their induction, with a £10,000 donation made by the Premier League to a charity of their choice.
A shortlist of 25 additional nominees eligible to join the Premier League Hall of Fame in 2022 will be announced on Wednesday at 4pm, with fans invited to help select six further inductees.
Voting will take place at www.premierleague.com/halloffame and on the official Premier League app until 9pm (UK time) on Sunday 3 April.