Lionel Messi believes Wayne Rooney is a ‘once in a generation player’ and feels there is nobody like him in world football.
Rooney grabbed the headlines this week with his 50th goal for England which made him the highest ever goalscorer for his country and Messi certainly thinks that is a deserved accolade.
Praising Rooney’s qualities and attributes, Messi said Rooney was one of the strongest players he felt and said there was nobody who he could be compared to.
“One of those special players, who is not comparable to any other.
“There are many special players, but Rooney has exceptional quality and technical ability as well as being one of the strongest players I have faced with an exceptional work rate – there is nobody like him.”
“Rooney is a winner. He will just be focused on success with England in the European Championship.
“I have always said the same is true of myself and Argentina — breaking caps and goals records mean nothing unless they come with trophies. Like I say, Wayne is a winner. It will always be the team first and personal records second.”
High praise indeed from Messi. In his pomp, Rooney was unplayable because his raw mix of power, drive and sheer self-belief did make it impossible for defenders to stop him. That’s not the case any more.
Rooney isn’t the same player he was when he faced up against Messi in the Champions League final back in 2011 and he needs to recapture that form.
Messi is right in that, on his day, very few players can replicate Rooney’s all-round performance but with time ticking on his career, it’s something he’ll have to do soon.