Former Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney has infuriated his ex-United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo by portraying Lionel Messi as the ‘best’ footballer of all time.
The 37-year-old DC United boss Rooney publicly exalted the Argentine man above Ronaldo amidst the hostility between him and his former Manchester United team-mate after the Portuguese star shockingly called him a ‘rat’ this week.
England’s all-time top goalscorer Rooney had previously warned Ronaldo last week on how vulnerable his actions at Old Trafford and the risk of becoming an ‘unwelcome distraction’ at United made the club a better off without him.
Rooney’s criticism against Ronaldo didn’t go well as it led the five-time Ballon d’Or winner to say he doesn’t count the DC United manager as a friend in his bombshell interview with Piers Morgan while also asserting that Rooney is jealous because he looks healthier than the Englishman.
The 37-year-old Portuguese legendary striker even labeled the former Manchester United star as a ‘rat’ and suggested Rooney held feelings of ‘jealousy’ towards him.
Ronaldo replied when questioned whether it was jealousy that prompted Rooney to criticize him, he told Piers: ‘Probably – because he finished his career in his 30s. I’m still playing at a high level; I’m not going to say that I’m looking better than him, which is true.’
However, Wayne Rooney has described Cristiano Ronaldo’s controversial statements as a ‘bit strange’ in his response on Friday, November 18, as he aimed a dig at the 37-year-old Portuguese superstar by naming the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi as the greatest footballer to ever grace the planet.
During an interview with The Times on Friday, the 37-year-old retired legendary English footballer also backed the 35-year-old PSG superstar Lionel Messi to lead Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar.
Rooney said: ‘For me, Argentina is the favorite. Unlike in 2018, they have plenty of good, solid players around Lionel Messi such as Lautaro Martínez, Leandro Paredes, Rodrigo De Paul, and of course Angel Di Maria.
‘Winning the Copa America last year will have given them confidence and has taken a bit of pressure off them. The climate will suit them too. The only thing they are missing is a No 9, that focal point in attack, but I think they will be dangerous.’
Wayne Rooney, however, doubled down on his opinion that the seven-time Ballon d’Or holder Lionel Messi is the greatest footballer of all time ahead of his former United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 37-year-old England legendary goal scorer dazzled the world on a Ronaldo-Messi debate in 2020 where he stated he is putting his friendship with the Portuguese aside to pick the Argentine ace as World’s best footballer.
Rooney didn’t hesitate to reiterate his claim when asked whether a World Cup trophy would solidify Messi as the best footballer of all time, Rooney responded: ‘Everyone has different views on Messi and Ronaldo but I have said many times that I think Messi is the best.
‘I have watched lots of videos of Diego Maradona, who was a similar player, but Messi is better. He has everything — the way he controls games, his dribbling, his assists — whereas Ronaldo is more of a goalscorer.
‘It would be a great story for football if either Messi or Ronaldo won the World Cup. I have heard some of the Argentine players saying that they want to win it for Messi. That’s crazy — and might only increase the pressure on them.’
The Argentine team is arguably one of the greatest contenders for the World Cup trophy following their Copa America triumph, with Lionel Messi‘s side unbeaten in 36 matches; a record that places them second after Italy who held 37 games unbeaten record.
Rooney has named Argentina, a team who snubs five-star hotels to lodge in Doha’s University hall, as his favorites to lift the World Cup trophy in Qatar but the Portuguese team can not be underestimated.
Their humiliating and effortless 4-0 victory over the Super Eagles of Nigeria in their friendly is one piece of evidence that the Portuguese team has plenty of harm in store to demolish other competitors of the World Cup tournament.
As the World Cup action unpacks, it’s hard to openly pick the champion yet but the competition will certainly be a tough battle as only the fittest teams will have the chance to return to their countries with prizes.