Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Former Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was asked to choose between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi and the England international had a clear answer. The debate and comparisons over the two footballers is common practice and Rooney believes that although he was teammates with Ronaldo, Messi holds the edge over the Portugal international. Both footballers have dominated football for quite some time now and it can be clear from the fact that Messi has won the coveted Ballon d’Or a record six times while Ronaldo has won it five times.
“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,” Rooney wrote in his column for The Sunday Times.
“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.
“Despite my friendship with Cristiano, I’d go for Messi. It’s for the same reason I loved watching Xavi and Scholes: it’s the different things in Messi’s game. 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.
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“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, a teenage sensation at Everton, joined United in 2004 and went on to score 253 goals in 559 appearances during a 13-year spell for the Old Trafford club that saw the Red Devils pile up the trophies.
Rooney surpassed 1966 World Cup-winner Bobby Charlton as United’s all-time leading scorer, just as he did for England with a tally of 53 goals from 120 caps.
(With agency inputs)
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