The Juventus hitman may be a friend, but the former England captain believes Barcelona’s wizard is a cut above the restWayne Rooney believes Lionel Messi is a cut above the “incredible” Cristiano Ronaldo because the Barcelona superstar “will torture you before he kills you.
”Rooney and Ronaldo tormented defences during time as team-mates in an outstanding Manchester United side before the Portugal forward joined Real Madrid in 2009.They spent a total of five seasons together at Old Trafford, a spell that yielded three Premier League titles and Champions League glory in 2007-8, a feat that sealed Ronaldo’s first Ballon d’Or.
Ronaldo and Messi have gone on to win the prize an astonishing 11 times between them, with Luka Modric the only other player to land the award since 2007.But former England captain Rooney considers Messi, winner of the Ballon d’Or on six occasions, to be a step above his friend and ex-team-mate and the best on the planet.
The Derby County skipper wrote in his Sunday Times column: “Ronaldo wasn’t as focused on goals when we started playing together but you could see that all he wanted was to be the best player in the world.“He practised and practised and began to produce. Cristiano has become an incredible scorer and he and Messi are arguably the best two players the game has seen.“But despite my friendship with Cristiano, I’d go for Messi. It’s for the same reason I loved watching Xavi and [Paul] Scholes: it’s the different things in Messi’s game.
Rooney went on to explain that he believes Messi’s natural talent gives him the edge over Cristiano, whom he nevertheless singles out as lethal in front of goal.“I’ve talked about composure and I can’t remember seeing Messi score when he has hit the ball as hard as he could. He just rolls them in, makes it so easy,” he added.“Ronaldo is ruthless in the box, a killer. But Messi will torture you before he kills you. With Messi you just get the impression he is having more fun.“Those two have completely changed the game in terms of goalscoring numbers and I don’t think they’ll ever be matched.”Rooney’s Derby County sat in 12th place in the Championship when the league was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, but the Rams are still within touching distance of the play-offs, trailing Preston by just five points with nine games to play.