LONDON -- Wayne Rooney said Wednesday he wants to leave Manchester United because of concerns that the club will not make big enough investments in the squad to compete for future trophies.
The England striker has almost two years remaining on his contract, but manager Alex Ferguson announced Tuesday that the 24-year-old player would not sign the new deal that had been offered by chief executive David Gill.
"I met with David Gill last week and he did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad," Rooney said Wednesday in a statement. "I then told him that I would not be signing a new contract. I was interested to hear what Sir Alex had to say yesterday and surprised by some of it.
"It is absolutely true, as he said, that my agent and I have had a number of meetings with the club about a new contract. During those meetings in August I asked for assurances about the continued ability of the club to attract the top players in the world."
Rooney joined United in 2004 from boyhood club Everton for $40 million.
He has since won three Premier League titles and the Champions League. But the team only won the League Cup last season after losing Cristiano Ronaldo and striker Carlos Tevez, without signing any similarly high-profile replacements.
Rooney has also seen neighbor Manchester City dramatically outspend 18-time English champion United in the last two years since being bought by Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mansour.
Like Ferguson did on Tuesday, Rooney downplayed talk about a rift between the two -- calling the manager "a genius" -- and said his decision was based solely on an ambition to win.
"I have never had anything but complete respect for MUFC. How could I not have done given its fantastic history and especially the last six years in which I have been lucky to play a part?" Rooney said. "For me its all about winning trophies -- as the club has always done under Sir Alex. Because of that I think the questions I was asking were justified.
"Despite recent difficulties, I know I will always owe Sir Alex Ferguson a huge debt. He is a great manager and mentor who has helped and supported me from the day he signed me from Everton when I was only 18. For Manchester United's sake I wish he could go on forever because he's a one off and a genius."