Manchester United manager David Moyes hailed a "world-class" Wayne Rooney after the striker scored twice and had an influential role in the 4-2 win over Bayer Leverkusen.
The Scot's long-awaited Champions League debut ended in a comfortable victory but Rooney claimed the plaudits with his 200th goal for the Red Devils.
When he took over from Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer Moyes told the England international, who at the time appeared to be wanting to find a way out of Old Trafford, he could go down in history as the club's all-time leading scorer.
The performance against Leverkusen, which saw Rooney join an elite group of Sir Bobby Charlton (249), Denis Law (237) and Jack Rowley (211) in reaching the landmark, has done nothing to dissuade the United boss.
"Wayne was great today," said Moyes, who also saw Robin van Persie and Antonio Valencia score his side's other goals with Simon Rolfes and Omer Toprak replying for the visitors.
"I'm not a Manchester United historian but I think there are only four people to do it.
"I said he has a real chance to be one of the all-time leading goalscorers at this club and if he keeps playing like he did tonight he will get there. He was very, very good.
"It was something which we made him aware of (during those fractious few weeks in the summer when he seemed destined for the exit).
"More importantly I wanted to get him back in a really good condition and mentally ready correct when he was ready to play.
"You'll talk about his goals but his pass for Antonio's goal as well and he could've made it 2-0 after rounding the goalkeeper and they come up the pitch and make it 1-1. I thought he played really well.
"I think he looks like he is moving as well as he has done. He is in a good place himself at the moment and obviously any centre-forward who is scoring goals feels good about himself."
Moyes is adamant Rooney is a key component of his master plan. With him they have a chance of winning the Champions League, without him it is much more difficult.
"I knew if you are going to win the Champions League you have to have several world-class players and Wayne comes into that category," added Moyes.
"It is really important you have as many of them as you can in your team.
"You can see what some of the other teams have got and we have to keep adding to that while keeping the ones we already have here."
Moyes was also impressed by midfielder Marouane Fellaini's Champions League debut after the Belgian followed his manager from Goodison Park on deadline day.
"I thought Fellaini played well tonight," he said.
"He settled in well but started to get a bit of cramp in the second half so I thought I wouldn't take any chances with him but I thought he did a good job and throughout the game I thought he played well.
"I thought they (the team) played ever so well and scored four good goals and maybe could've had added to that.
"I was really pleased with the performance."
This weekend's derby against Manchester City will be a much tougher test but Moyes insisted he had not thought that far.
"It is always good to win your next game," he added.
"We did the job that was required and more importantly it was a good start in the Champions League, which was the only thing I was interested in today."
Leverkusen manager Sami Hyypia, who played against Rooney as a Liverpool defender just a couple of years ago, felt the 27-year-old had much more to offer.
"He showed that he can score good goals," said the Finn.
"He has done it for years and I think he has a few years left.
"To score 200 goals is a good achievement - that's a few more than I scored in my career.
"It looks so easy how he is playing. He is a difficult opponent to play against and he showed today he is a quality player."
Rooney's opener was contentious as Valencia appeared to be both offside and impeding goalkeeper Bernd Leno but Hyypia remained diplomatic.
"The first goal is always important. I haven't seen it but I heard it might have been offside but those are things that you can't control and after the game there is no use to talk about them," he added.