Wayne Rooney spoiled David Beckham’s Old Trafford homecoming Wednesday by scoring another two goals against AC Milan as Manchester United cruised into the Champions League quarterfinals with 4-0 rout.
Having scored twice in United’s 3-2 victory in the first leg, Rooney netted in each half to take his tally for the season to 30.
Park Ji-sung and Darren Fletcher added another two goals as a rampant United side secured a 7-2 aggregate win.
Apart from Ronaldinho’s early header and substitute Beckham’s volley, seven-time European champion Milan never posed any serious threat to United’s quest for a third successive final.
With the game virtually decided by the time Beckham came on in the second half, United fans afforded him a standing ovation and then cheered most touches from the midfielder, who returned to face United at Old Trafford for the first time since leaving seven years ago.
"It was nice to be back and obviously a disappointing night," Beckham said. "When you don’t start in game it’s one of those things when you always want to play.
"But it was an unbelievable reception and I have to say thank you."
United fans also continued their protests against the Glazer family, who took over the club in 2005 after Beckham’s departure and has burdened the three-time European champions with debts of $1.1 billion.
Across the ground, supporters held up protest scarves in green and gold of Newton Heath, the original incarnation of United, rather than red and black.
One banner intertwined the two themes, playing on the former England captain’s nickname: "Welcome Home Green-And-Goldenballs."
Beckham left the pitch wearing one of the protest scarves, giving the perfect picture for fans trying to force the Glazers to sell.
But after starting the first leg, Beckham had to settle with a place on the bench from where he watched United’s new superstar, Rooney, extend the Premier League champion’s lead in the 13th minute.
Captain Gary Neville raced forward unchallenged and picked out Rooney with a precise cross from the right and the England forward rose above Bonera to claim his ninth header in his last 10 games.
Until that point, the closest the lethargic visitors came was when Ronaldinho headed wide in the eighth, but there was no urgency or threat from the Italian club.
While the score remained a 1-0 at half time, Rooney netted again within a minute of the restart. Nani charged down the left flank and crossed to the onrushing Rooney, who clipped the ball past Abbiati.
"He’s such a talent," Beckham said. "Without a doubt he’s one of the best – if not the best at the moment with Messi and (Cristiano) Ronaldo."
Park slid in United’s third in the 59th after being fed by Paul Scholes, ending any chance of a Milan comeback minutes before Beckham’s arrival off the bench – with the 74,595 crowd on its feet applauding.
"By that stage the game was over – they are a good side," Beckham said.
While Beckham did test Edwin van der Sar with a volley, Fletcher scored United’s fourth in the 87th, meeting Rafael da Silva’s cross at the past post and heading over Abbiati.
With the United victory secured, the home fans began continuously chanting "We want Glazers out" and unfurling "Love United, Hate Glazer" banners around the ground.