Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are glowing admirers of Wayne Rooney.
Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi harbour immense praise and respect for Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney.
Their comments reveal just how successful and incredible Rooney was over his trophy-laden career.
Manchester United and England’s all-time leading goalscorer has officially retired from his playing career after being appointed permanent manager of Derby County until 2023.
Despite his immense achievements within the sport, Rooney has often been underappreciated for his contributions as a player.
But praise from Messi and Ronaldo, with eleven Ballon d’Or wins between them, speaks volumes of just how talented Rooney was.
Messi, who had the pleasure of facing off against Rooney in two Champions League finals in 2009 and 2011 has said that Rooney was one of the best he ever played against.
“Over the years we have faced many British teams in Europe and come up against many good players, but I have always had a big respect for Wayne Rooney,” Messi said in an interview with Coach Magazine.
“He has played at the highest level for many years and is one of the special players of the generation.”
Juventus forward Ronaldo meanwhile shared a dressing room with the Everton youth product at Man United — winning three Premier League titles in a row as well as a treble in 2008.
“For me, the power of Wayne Rooney is his mentality and strength,” Ronaldo said in a 2015 interview as part of a documentary on Rooney.
“He never stops, he always runs, helps the team. He’s a fantastic team player and he scores goals. He scored important goals, for me he’s fantastic.
“He was the kid of England. Everyone loved him. He is a fantastic boy, fantastic player.
“I used to call him, between me and my mates, the pit bull. I remember when he lost the ball he was so powerful, a strong guy, he shoots unbelievable.”
Ronaldo also mentioned how he missed “playing with him” and added that perhaps they would play together again someday.
Sadly, Rooney’s retirement means that this will never happen in a competitive fixture but the duo could still line up alongside one another in a testimonial or charity game in the future.