27 JULY 2007

Whether or not he's a fan of Johnny Depp's swashbuckling pirate flicks, Manchester United footballer Wayne Rooney had plenty in common with some of the big screen adventure's cast this week during a trip to China. With a scarlet macaw perched on his shoulder, the striker could have passed for a rogue straight off Captain Barbossa's ship The Black Pearl.

The scene unfolded as Wayne and his team mates visited a zoo in the southern Chinese province of Guangzho during the final leg of their Asian tour. While Wayne acted as a perch for his feathered friend, Ryan Giggs got a more cuddly assignment. The side's longest-serving player took a stroll with a baby chimpanzee, who snoozed contendedly in his arms as team manager Sir Alex Ferguson and centre-back Rio Ferdinand looked on in amusement.

On Saturday the team completes its Asia run with a match against local side Guangzhou Yi Yao at the region's Olympic stadium. United's presence is already causing a stir in the province, with a training session at the stadium being shelved after 800 fans invaded the pitch in search of autographs.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
The 21-year-old Manchester United striker looked slightly wary at serving as a perch for a scarlet macawPhoto: © Rex
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Team mate Ryan Giggs got a more cuddly assignment, toting a sleepy baby chimpanzee Photo: © Rex