Former Manchester United and Everton striker Wayne Rooney has had a gala time playing in the English Premier League, scoring some phenomenal goals and breaking records with the Red Devils in the English top-flight. During his 13-year stay at Old Trafford, Rooney rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest stars of that time and one of those was Cristiano Ronaldo. Currently plying his trade at DC United in the Major League Soccer (USA), Rooney dwelled onto the neverending Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi debate and ended up picking ‘the greatest of all time’.
Ronaldo left Manchester United in 2009 to join Real Madrid in a then record-breaking deal and over the course of 9 years, he established himself as one of the two best players in the world, if not the absolute best, alongside Messi. Winning 4 UEFA Champions League trophies (including a hat-trick of titles from 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18), Ronaldo broke numerous records both domestically and in Europe before moving to Juventus in the summer of 2018.
While the 33-year-old’s attacking prowess still remains an envious trait to many forwards in the world football, only one man has been able to stand neck-to-neck with him and he is none other than the Barcelona superstar Messi.
For Rooney, who himself is the record goalscorer for Manchester United with 253 career goals for the Red Devils, puts the Argentine ahead of the Portuguese as his ‘greatest of all time’. Having had the opportunity to play against Messi in the 2009 and 2011 Champions League finals, Rooney didn’t shy away from heaping praise on his counterpart admitting that Messi was what separated the two sides in the title-decider.
“In both games (Champions League finals) if we had been against any other team but Barcelona you would have fancied us to win,” said the former Man Utd captain. “In my eyes they are the best team ever and Messi is the best player ever. What he gets to do is incredible. Messi has just got a bit of everything.”
Speaking about his former teammate Ronaldo, Rooney hailed the way he has developed from being a winger during the Manchester United days to becoming a fearsome striker. “Ronaldo has gone from a winger to a striker and a goalscorer. Rather than taking players on all the time, he has gone more one or two touch, getting in the box and scoring goals,” said the Englishman.
Drawing differences between the two modern football superstars, Rooney said that what separates them is the fact that Messi is more versatile and can play different roles while Ronaldo is only a goalscorer.
“Messi a bit of everything – you see him scoring goals from playing probably a deep midfield role at times, and where I’m probably still walking on the pitch he’s scoring. So he is probably the best,” concluded Rooney.