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 started making a name for himself at the age of 16 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.”